SCHOOL FUNDING FIGHT-KANSAS
Kansas high court: School funding unconstitutional
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court says the state's current public school funding levels are unconstitutional.
In Friday's much-anticipated ruling, the court said Kansas' poor school districts were harmed when the state made the decision to cut certain payments when tax revenues declined during the Great Recession.
The court also sent the case back for more review to determine what the adequate amount of funding should be.
The lawsuit was filed in 2010 on behalf of parents and school districts who argued the state had harmed students because spending cuts resulted in lower test scores.
State attorneys maintained that legislators did their best to minimize cuts to education.
SCHOOL FUNDING FIGHT-REACTION
Lawyer suing Kansas sees schools ruling as victory
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - An attorney for Kansas parents and school districts suing the state over education funding says the state Supreme Court's ruling in the case is a victory for children.
Newton attorney John Robb said Friday that he's pleased with the high court's ruling. The justices ordered the Legislature to boost two kinds of aid to school districts by July 1.
It returned the case to Shawnee County District Court for more hearings on how much total aid the state must provide to ensure that all children have an adequate education.
Robb said the guidelines the Supreme Court set for reviewing total funding are in line with what the parents and school districts had suggested during the lower-court trial.
Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative leaders said they're reviewing the decision.
Last of 4 suspects sentenced in Kansas man's death
(Information in the following story is from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com)
PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) - The fourth and final suspect in the death of a Kansas man two years ago has been sentenced to prison.
Twenty-nine-year-old Nathan Whitney of Joplin, Mo., was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for second-degree murder in the October 2011 death of 21-year-old Ryan Bailey in Pittsburg. Three other charges were dropped.
Bailey was killed during a botched robbery at his home.
Three other men, all from Joplin, have pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and other charges and received longer sentences than Whitney.
The Joplin Globe reports Whitney's 10-year term for murder will run consecutively to a sentence he is serving in Missouri for receiving stolen property. He will be on parole for three years after serving his sentence and must register as a violent offender.
Kansas Senate OKs 'compromise' judiciary budget
(Information in the following story is from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com)
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Senate has passed a budget for the judicial branch but only after bundling it with bills that would reduce the state Supreme Court's authority over judicial districts.
Senate Vice President Jeff King, a Republican from Independence, says the bill passed Thursday is a compromise that will prevent judicial furloughs.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the bill funds the courts, increases docket fees on some large litigation and allows some judicial positions to remain open for 120 days. It also allows the chief judges of the state's 31 judicial districts to control their individual budgets, and allows judicial districts to elect their chiefs.
Currently, the Supreme Court controls the districts' budgets and appoints their chiefs.
Democrats said those measures should be voted on separately from the budget bills.
Students seeking less smoke at state fair
(Information in the following story is from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com)
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - Several Hutchinson students want to limit smoking at the Kansas state fairgrounds.
About 25 members of Communities that Care, a Reno County youth organization, asked the Kansas State Fair board on Thursday to consider their proposal to make the grounds smoke-free, except for a few designated smoking areas.
The Hutchinson News reports smoking isn't allowed now in the buildings or in the grandstand.
The students said other state fairs have implemented similar policies.
Fair Manager Denny Stoecklein says more studies would be needed to determine how other fairs implemented such plans, and the board would not make any decisions without getting more feedback from patrons.
LIBRARY BOOK RETURNED
Cookbook returned to library after 21-plus years
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - More than two decades after a cookbook was checked out of a Kansas library, it's just now been returned.
6NewsLawrence reports a copy of "The Versatile Grain and the Elegant Bean: A Celebration of the World's Most Healthful Foods" was placed in a Lawrence Public Library return box one night this week. The book had been checked out on Sept. 24, 1992.
Library official Kristin Soper speculates the borrower misplaced the volume and came across it just recently. The maximum late fee in 1992 was $3; it's now $4.50.
"The Versatile Grain and the Elegant Bean" contains more than 300 recipes from around the world. Reviewers noted in 1992 that its publication coincided with growing U.S. interest in healthy cooking.
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