Celia Llopis-Jepsen

Reporter, Kansas News Service

Celia comes to the Kansas News Service after five years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. She brings in-depth experience covering schools and education policy in Kansas as well as news at the Statehouse. In the last year she has been diving into data reporting. At the Kansas News Service she will be producing more radio, a medium she’s been yearning to return to since graduating from Columbia University with a master’s in journalism.

Celia also has a master’s degree in bilingualism studies from Stockholm University in Sweden. Before she landed in Kansas, Celia worked as a reporter for The American Lawyer in New York, translated Chinese law articles, and was a reporter and copy editor for the Taipei Times.

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At school, Kansas students learn what to do in case a shooter attacks. Lock classroom doors. Turn out the lights. Huddle out of view from the window in the door.

In the Statehouse, lawmakers are searching for consensus on better ways to prevent, or cut short, school shootings. Arm teachers? Fortify schools? Train kids about guns?

On Tuesday, the feelings clashed in a committee hearing and on the floor of the Kansas House just days after gun control activists drew crowds to March for Our Lives protests in Kansas City, Wichita, Topeka and across the country.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service, File Photo

A report commissioned by the Kansas Legislature made clear just how much it might cost to improve student outcomes at public schools.

It’s so expensive, says a new lobbying group, that it threatens the quality of Kansas roads, health care and other government functions.

The group wants to amend the state constitution, freeing lawmakers to dodge steep hikes in school spending. External experts argue that added money would be needed to fulfill promises to graduate high school students better prepared for college or the workplace.

Robert J. Dole Federal Courthhouse

Much was at stake in the two-plus weeks in Kansas City, Kansas, where Secretary of State Kris Kobach defended in federal court the strict voter registration law he spearheaded and his office’s execution of those rules.

Julie Denesha / KCUR/File Photo

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach got a tongue lashing Tuesday from the judge who will decide whether he violated federal law by blocking tens of thousands of voter applications.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File Photo

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is defending Kansas' strict voter registration laws in federal court in a trial that has now entered its third week.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Getting most Kansas schoolchildren doing well enough in math and reading to stay on track for college could cost an extra $2 billion a year — or roughly half of what the state already spends on aid to local schools.

The figure comes from a report released Friday that lawmakers commissioned to help them judge the costs of getting better classroom results and to comply with a Kansas Supreme Court order.

Kansas News Service/File photo

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is defending Kansas' strict voter registration laws in federal court in a trial that has now entered its second week.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

How far must people go to prove they’re really Americans when they register to vote?

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

A Kansas law that blocked tens of thousands of voter registrations goes on trial this week in federal court — testing whether fraud is common enough to warrant tougher registration rules.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service, File Photo

Even before releasing their results, consultants hired to guide Kansas lawmakers to a school funding plan that meets legal muster endured a grilling on Friday.

How, wondered lawmakers, would the consultants reach their conclusions on how much money school districts need to help students succeed academically? Why do the consultants seem to be excluding the overhead — non-classroom expenses of running schools — from their study? And what about criticism of work they’d done in other states?

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