Peter Hancock (Statehouse/politics reporter)

I cover K-12 education. That includes Lawrence USD 497 as well as state policy issues from the legislature and State Board of Education. I am a graduate of the Kansas University with bachelor's degrees in political science and education. Before joining the Journal-World, I published an online news service called the Kansas Education Policy Report. I also spent nine years as the statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and worked a couple of years as the spokesman for the (former) Kansas Health Policy Authority. You can follow me on Twitter (@pqhancock) or join our conversation about public schools on the First Bell blog.

Recent stories

Kansas appeals court clarifies use of ‘stand your ground’ defense
March 28, 2015
The Kansas Court of Appeals said trial courts must follow strict rules before allowing a defendant to claim immunity from prosecution under the state’s so-called “stand your ground” law. That 2010 law says individuals cannot be arrested, detained or prosecuted for using deadly force if they acted in self defense, unless officers can show probable cause that a crime was committed. By Peter Hancock
Lawmaker defends use of state plane to fly back for vote
March 28, 2015
Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, was flown back to Topeka on the state’s private plane to vote on a controversial school funding bill, but arrived too late to cast that vote. He said he was attending official events in his home districts and that the flights were related to his official duties. By Peter Hancock
Cuts in financial aid for public institution students may be deeper than expected
03:31 p.m., March 26, 2015 Updated 10:50 p.m.
Students attending independent private colleges and universities may get as much as 84 percent of the need-based grants funded by the state under a budget bill passed by the Kansas Senate this week. But the wording in the legislation is not clear. By Peter Hancock
Plaintiffs seek to block new Kansas school funding plan
01:31 p.m., March 26, 2015 Updated 10:52 p.m.
Plaintiffs in an ongoing school finance case asked a three-judge panel in Topeka on Thursday to block implementation of a new school funding plan that Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law Wednesday. By Peter Hancock
Kansas Senate passes budget that includes cuts to KU and student financial aid
08:10 p.m., March 25, 2015 Updated 10:10 p.m.
The Senate budget bill includes a $9.4 million cut in funding for the Lawrence campus of Kansas University. It also changes the way state-funded student financial aid is allocated that will result in public institutions losing $5.3 million in funding, or about 3,521 fewer students receiving aid. Senate Republican leaders say the bill is only a starting point for negotiations with the House. By Peter Hancock
Senate advances bill to keep successful candidates on ballot after primary
March 24, 2015
The bill was proposed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to address controversy in last year’s elections, when Democrat Chad Taylor withdrew from the U.S. Senate race. By Peter Hancock
New school finance plan draws guarded support
05:19 p.m., March 24, 2015 Updated 09:57 p.m.
A bill that would phase in a new kind of school finance formula over the next three years drew guarded support from some school districts and surprising interest from some education groups during a legislative committee hearing Tuesday. By Peter Hancock
Senate committee to hear proposal for new school finance formula
05:59 p.m., March 23, 2015 Updated 10:51 p.m.
Senate Education Committee Chairman Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City, has introduced a new school finance formula that would return the state to a per-pupil funding system, but would significantly change the kinds of weightings used to provide additional money for higher-cost students and districts. The panel will hold a hearing on the bill Tuesday. By Peter Hancock
Kansas Senate panel reworks budget as support in House erodes
03:10 p.m., March 23, 2015 Updated 10:51 p.m.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee decided to keep a $9.4 million cut to the Kansas University campus in Lawrence, but deletes the transfer of that money to the KU Medical Center campus in Wichita. It also deleted a proposed $2 million increase in student financial aid, but left in a requirement that 75 percent of the remaining aid go to students from private independent colleges. The changes were in response to a growing perception that the House may not have enough votes to pass its own bill. By Peter Hancock
Guns, abortion and budget on tap as Kansas Legislature heads into final stretch
March 21, 2015
Republican leaders in the House and Senate say they’re generally pleased with the progress of the 2015 legislative session. But the final two weeks of the regular session could be trying, as lawmakers grapple with bills ranging from abortion and concealed carry of handguns to the state’s budget for the next two fiscal years. By Peter Hancock

Full story list

Recent photos

Republican Sen. Julia Lynn of Olathe and Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, debate a proposed amendment to a budget bill the Senate passed Wednesday. The bill now goes to the House where GOP leaders have had trouble finding a majority to support their budget bill.

Rep. Boog Highberger, D-Lawrence, speaks on the House floor against Senate Bill 95, which would ban so-called "dismemberment" abortions.

Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, debates with Sen. Mitch Holmes, R-St. John, about a bill that would prevent candidates from withdrawing from the ballot after a primary. The bill is a response to controversy over Democrat Chad Taylor's withdrawal from the U.S. Senate race last year.

Marysville school superintendent Bill Mullins testifies Tuesday in favor of a bill that would phase in a new school finance formula over the next three years.

Sen. Ty Masterson, R-Augusta, center, chairs a meeting of the Senate Ways and Means Committee with vice chairman Sen. Jim Denning of Overland Park, left, and Sen. Laura Kelly, the ranking Democrat. The panel voted Monday to cut funding for the Kansas University campus in Lawrence by $9.4 million over two years, but not to transfer that money to the KU Medical Center campus in Wichita, as earlier proposed.

Full photo list