Author - Scott Rothschild

Moran opposes latest Obamacare repeal and Medicaid cuts

Kansas Senator Jerry Moran said he would oppose the latest Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and impose cuts in federal medical assistance, another blow to an effort that has repeatedly looked dead but continues to return. Moran's opposition helped derail an earlier Senate Republican plan. It is unclear how Congressional Republican leaders and the administration of President Trump will proceed. Among the options: a straight repeal of the ACA, called "Obamacare," without replacement, or attempting to work with Democrats to make changes in the troubled parts of the federal health care law. Although the focus of...

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Students learn energy production, circuitry in program supported by last year’s Westar STEM grant

An after-school program last year at Andover USD 385's Cottonwood Elementary focused on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). The program was one of three selected for a Westar STEM Innovation Curriculum Grant last school year. Students learned about circuitry and electricity production, then designed wind turbines and jewelry. An electricity art show rounded out the project. "Over 60 Cottonwood students participated in the After School Science Club activities," said Shari Rooks, principal. "Our last meeting was probably my favorite, as we invited the parents to school so that the students could share the STEM Kits. We will use...

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Many questions before Kansas Supreme Court during oral arguments set for Tuesday

Will Kansas public schools open as scheduled in August? Will the Legislature have to meet in a special session on school funding? These questions will likely be addressed during oral arguments this week before the Kansas Supreme Court. But when the court will provide answers is anyone’s guess. At 9 a.m. Tuesday, attorneys representing the school districts that successfully sued the state, and attorneys who represent the state, will square off once again before the court. Legal briefs in the case can be accessed here. Tuesday’s arguments represent another chapter in litigation dating back to 2010 when Schools for Fair Funding filed a lawsuit...

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School finance plaintiffs ask court to strike portion of state’s response brief

The plaintiff school districts in the Gannon school finance case Thursday asked the Kansas Supreme Court to strike a section of the state's response brief concerning the State Board of Education's request for nearly $900 million in additional school funding, phased-in over two years. In a brief filed last Friday, the state argues - based on video review of the State Board's July 12, 2016 meeting that adopted a budget request for 2018 and 2019, and Commissioner Randy Watson's testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Education Finance - that the board's funding request was based on a lower court...

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State Board approves forming School Mental Health Advisory Council

The Kansas State Board of Education on Tuesday approved establishing an advisory council to provide information and recommendations on unmet mental health needs in Kansas schools. “This is probably one of the more important things we do,” Board Member Jim McNiece said. Board Chairman Jim Porter said when he started as a teacher and principal, one of the most common problems was making sure children weren’t chewing gum in class. “We are in a different world now,” Porter said. Educators today are dealing with students who have had serious adverse experiences, he said. The School Mental Health Advisory Council will be chaired by...

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Watson urges schools apply for redesign project

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson on Tuesday reiterated his call for school districts to apply for a pilot project to redesign schools in line with the Kansans Can vision. Watson said four districts have completed their application process for the “Mercury 7” project, which is named after the pioneering U.S. astronaut program. Seven districts for the project will be announced next month, he said. Under the program, an elementary and secondary school in each of the seven districts will be redesigned in conjunction with the State Board of Education’s Kansans Can mission of leading the world in the success of each...

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KASB Board of Directors Transition

With the new fiscal year, comes a changing of leadership positions at KASB. Dayna Miller, a member of the Basehor-Linwood USD 458 school board, will serve as president, while Patrick Woods, of the Topeka USD 501 school board, became president-elect. Former president Amy Martin, whose term expired June 30, will serve as chair of the Legislative Committee, as well as continue on the KASB board of directors and executive committee. The KASB Nominating Committee is seeking applications through Aug. 30 for nomination to serve as president-elect-designee. The position will be up for election at the annual KASB Convention in December. For more...

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Senate Medicaid debate picks up as Congress returns

The roiling U.S. Senate debate over healthcare – and possible Medicaid cuts to public schools – resumes this week as Congress returns from its July 4th recess. If Kansas school leaders have not already expressed concerns about possible cuts to Medicaid reimbursements to schools, they should contact Sen. Pat Roberts and Sen. Jerry Moran, as pressure mounts to pass a bill as early as this week. Grassroots opposition to the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which seeks to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, (“Obamacare”) forced Senate leadership to postpone a late-June Senate vote on the bill. The BCRA could...

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KASB report says increased investment in schools will benefit Kansas

While there continues to be much debate about the tax increase approved by the 2017 Legislature, there has been little discussion about the benefits the tax increase will have for all Kansans when invested in K-12 education. A new report by KASB shows that residents of states that invest more in public school education have higher education attainment and earn higher salaries. Those states with higher per pupil investment also experience lower unemployment and poverty rates. Here is a link to the report. Previous KASB reports have shown that Kansas schools already use tax dollars efficiently as evidenced by the fact...

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Board leadership changes at KASB

With the new fiscal year, comes a change in leadership positions at KASB. Dayna Miller, a member of the Basehor-Linwood USD 458 school board, will serve as president, while Patrick Woods, of the Topeka USD 501 school board, became president-elect. Former president Amy Martin, whose term expired June 30, will serve as chair of the Legislative Committee, as well as continue on the KASB board of directors and executive committee. The KASB Nominating Committee is seeking applications through Aug. 30 for nomination to serve as president-elect-designee. The position will be up for election at the annual KASB Convention in December. For more...

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