First Bell

Lawrence teacher watches as House advances union bill

Peter Hancock

Deena Burnett was visibly, if not always audibly, disappointed Wednesday after the Kansas House advanced a bill aimed at limiting public employee unions from engaging in political activity. After the House voted 66-54 to advance [HB 2023][1] to final action, she placed a piece of duct tape over her mouth ...

LHS brings home forensics trophies

Peter Hancock

The Lawrence High School forensics team brought home honors from a tournament at Lansing High School. Mona Ahmed, sophomore, won first place in original oratory, and the duet acting team of Sarah Smoot, senior, and Abbie Wise, junior, also won first, qualifying them for the state tournament to be held ...

Bishop Seabury cheerleaders offer kids cheer clinic Feb. 9

Peter Hancock

Youngsters from preschool age through sixth grade will have a chance to learn a dance routine and some cheers from the Bishop Seabury Academy cheerleading squad, and later to perform a routine during a basketball halftime show at the school, 4120 Clinton Parkway. The cheer clinic will be from 1 ...

Note to court: Effect is a noun; affect is a verb ... except when they're not

Peter Hancock

**By Peter Hancock** By now, politicians and legal scholars of all stripes have found things they either love or hate in the lengthy school finance decision in the case of Gannon vs. Kansas. So at the risk of piling on, let me just add one of my own little pet ...

School Efficiency Task Force releases report

Peter Hancock

Gov. Sam Brownback's School Efficiency Task Force has delivered its report, identifying 12 recommendations on how its members say Kansas schools can get more school funding "into classrooms" while spending less on administration and overhead costs. Brownback's office identified the final 12 recommendations in a [news release][1] Monday. When Brownback ...

S&P leaves Kansas' rating unchanged, stable outlook

Peter Hancock

Not all credit rating services are seeing a gloomy outlook for the state of Kansas in light of a recent court ruling about school finance. Standard & Poor's confirmed last week that it has not changed its credit rating outlook for Kansas in light of the decision in Gannon vs. ...

Moody's calls school finance ruling a negative credit factor for Kansas

Peter Hancock

Moody's Investors Services is calling last week's court ruling on school finance a negative credit factor for Kansas. "Although subject to appeal, this ruling is credit negative for Kansas (Aa1 negative) and underscores challenges the state faces as it tries to offset revenue losses from the income tax cuts it ...

1966 Revisited

Peter Hancock

Pardon me while I brush the dust off my hands and clothes, but I've been down in the basement of the News Center digging through what used to be called the newspaper "morgue," which is where we keep copies of every edition the Journal-World has ever printed. Thank goodness for ...

Fourth grade reading; third grade retention

Peter Hancock

Gov. Sam Brownback threw out some statistics in his [State of the State address][1] Tuesday night that might have caught some people by surprise. Among them was this: "29 percent of Kansas fourth-graders can’t read at a basic level." That figure is based on a somewhat controversial premise: the 2011 ...

School finance and the Kansas Constitution

Peter Hancock

Immediately after a three-judge panel issued its decision in the Kansas school finance lawsuit Friday, statements and pronouncements started flowing out of the statehouse about separation of powers, legislative authority and out-of-control courts stepping beyond their bounds. "The Kansas Legislature, not the courts, has the power of the purse," Gov. ...

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