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Education, Taxes Hot Topics At Legislative Forum

Carla Eckels

More than 300 people including teachers from Wichita and surrounding districts attended the South-Central Delegation legislative forum held at the National Center for Aviation Training in Wichita Saturday.

Several issues were raised including the importance of funding public education.

Tracy Callard is an elementary school teacher at Wichita's Horace Mann Duel Language Magnet. Callard says she's very concerned about program cuts.

"We've already lost elementary school instrumental music," she says, "we've lost driver's education, class size is increasing, we're losing reading specialists, we're losing paraprofessional support and these cuts are impacting children."

Sen. Mike Peterson, a Wichita Republican, says he's in favor of more funding for students, but how and what should be funded is yet to be decided.

Other speakers opposed the continuation of the state's one cent sales tax and raised concern about a Medicaid expansion in Kansas.

State lawmakers also heard concern about large scale incarceration and a bill that would merge the Kansas Turnpike Authority with the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The next South Central Kansas Delegation legislative forum will be held Saturday, March 23 from 9-11 am at the Wichita State University Metroplex.