Stephan Bisaha

News Reporter

Stephan Bisaha is a former NPR Kroc Fellow. Along with producing Weekend Edition, Stephan has reported on national stories for Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as other NPR programs. He provided data analysis for an investigation into the Department of Veteran Affairs and reported on topics ranging from Emojis to mattresses.

Stephan has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and concentrated in data journalism. He currently covers education for KMUW and the Kansas News Service. 

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Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service/File photo

Kansas schools are still struggling to hire teachers.

There are more than 600 vacant teaching positions in Kansas, nearly 100 more than in the fall of 2017. Special education and elementary positions have the largest number of vacancies.

The Kansas State Board of Education received the update on Tuesday from the Teacher Vacancy and Supply Committee. The main reason for the open positions is a lack of applicants or qualified applicants.

Bo Rader / Wichita Eagle

About two decades ago the Wichita School Board, disturbed by an increasing number of guns, knives and other weapons being brought to schools, decided to take a hard-line approach:

Zero tolerance.

The board, prompted by the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994, passed a policy mandating that any student caught with a gun — or a realistic-looking replica — on school property or at a school-sponsored event would be expelled for a full year.

No weapons — no questions, no excuses.

Enrollment at public colleges in Kansas fell about half of a percent this fall, according to a new report from the Kansas Board of Regents released Monday.

Pittsburg State University's enrollment declined just under 4 percent — the largest decrease for a state university this year. Fort Hays State University had the largest percent increase with a little over 2 percent.

At least one Kansas business says the Trump administration's plan to further limit the number of refugees entering the country could hurt its operations.

Secretary of State of State Mike Pompeo announced on Tuesday a plan to cap the number of refugees entering the country at 30,000 next year. For the current year the cap was lowered to 45,000, though final admissions numbers will be about half that.

United States Drought Monitor

Kansas' long drought is fading.

Drought covered more than 80 percent of Kansas in April. Now the National Weather Service says most of the state is drought-free.

Still, the dry conditions remain severe in parts of northeastern Kansas.

Maize School District Facebook

More than 1,000 students at Maize High School will spend time volunteering Tuesday as part of a national day of service in memory of September 11.

Principal Chris Botts says volunteering ties into the state's objectives of teaching students about citizenship.

"Students learn to be civically engaged by being civically engaged," Botts said. "That's kind of the tagline that we're using."

Students will participate in several activities on and off campus, including helping register voters and baking snacks for the local police and fire departments.

The Kansas Republican Party is cutting ties with state Rep. Michael Capps of Wichita after it was revealed that Capps was found guilty of child abuse last year.

A letter from the party released Friday said it asked Capps earlier in the week to withdraw from the race to keep his seat representing House District 85. The district covers parts of east Wichita.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Wichita Public School teachers are receiving a more than a 3.5 percent increase in salary. In Topeka, the increase is nearly 8 percent, that district's largest in 26 years.

School districts across Kansas are raising salaries, restoring cut positions and adding new jobs.

Orman campaign photo

Legal experts say independent candidate for governor Greg Orman faces at least a potential threat to lose his spot on the ballot in Kansas' general election.

An objection filed with the Kansas Secretary of State's office on Monday targets the signatures Orman gathered for ballot access. The letter was filed on behalf of William Lawrence, the chief of staff for Democratic state Senate Leader Anthony Hensley.

Scott Canon / Kansas News Service

Kansas is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to handling its elections, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Kansas was ranked 48th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on how it performed in the 2016 elections.

The main factor that pushed Kansas so low was the high number of provisional ballots — about 3 percent in 2016 compared to the national average of about 1 percent.

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