First Bell

Online infographic tracks school district's mail-ballot election returns

Elliot Hughes

By now, all registered voters living within the Lawrence school district should have received the materials necessary to participate in the district's mail-ballot election concerning its local option budget. Voters have until noon Jan. 27 to return their ballots to the Douglas County clerk's office, 1100 Massachusetts St. In the ...

KNEA taking tenure battle into mixed judicial environment

Peter Hancock

The state's largest teachers union announced this week (sort of) that it plans to launch a legal fight over teacher tenure rights. But it will be doing so in a clouded judicial environment where two recent court rulings have gone in opposite directions. The Kansas National Education Association on Monday ...

Kansas teachers keeping close watch on North Carolina

Peter Hancock

In a case that is resonating with many teachers in Kansas, a judge in North Carolina last week struck down that state's new law that does away with traditional teacher tenure. As reported by the [Raleigh News & Observer][1], Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood ruled that the law, enacted last ...

Why high school sports matter, and why they don't

Peter Hancock

I've been covering the Lawrence school board for almost two years now. Before that, I spent the better part of the previous 23 years covering government bodies of all other types - from city councils and county commissions to the Kansas Legislature and, occasionally, some congressional activity. I've even sat ...

Lawmaker's misstatements on education caught on video

Peter Hancock

A northeast Kansas legislator was recorded on camera over the weekend telling constituents that Kansas has the fourth worst educational system in the country, based on student test scores, while spending more than any other state on public schools - claims that are directly contradicted by official records. In a ...

School board notes: AVID; weeds; Langston Hughes project

Peter Hancock

The Lawrence school board meeting Monday night was dominated by discussion of the school finance bill that state lawmakers recently passed, but Gov. Sam Brownback is still yet to sign or veto. But there was other activity worthy of note, much of it buried on the consent agenda, meaning there ...

KNEA uses 'thunderclap' to spread word on education bill

Peter Hancock

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, there was an unusual spike in the Twitter hashtag #ksleg, which reporters, lobbyists and other political junkies use to highlight items about the Kansas Legislature. That spike, which shows up in the graphic below, was no accident. It was the result of a new kind of ...

State board member says Common Core battle not over

Peter Hancock

Topeka — Kansas State Board of Education member Ken Willard said today that the legislative battles over the new Common Core standards are far from over this year. Willard, from Hutchinson, is considered a reliably conservative Republican, but he has broken ranks with the majority of his party by openly ...

School finance: How solving one constitutional problem can create many more

Peter Hancock

As the Kansas Legislature tries to fix one set of constitutional problems with education funding, it'll be interesting to see whether they create a whole host of new ones, or at least open up a can of constitutional worms, simply in the way they're going about it. The Kansas Supreme ...

Court compliance deadline comes earlier for schools than for Legislature

Peter Hancock

The Kansas Supreme Court has given the Legislature until July 1 to correct two problems in the state's school funding system, but school districts themselves are facing an earlier deadline, and it's one that Lawrence Superintendent Rick Doll says he'd rather not even think about. By May 16, under [Kansas ...

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