Kansas State Department of Education

TOPEKA — Bullying just won’t go away. If anything, the advent of smartphones and social media has made it worse.

That’s forced a conversation on what Kansas schools can do to help. The problem? It’s easier to get adults to weigh in than students.

Republicans in the Kansas Senate seem ready to end a long-running lawsuit by complying with a court ruling that said the state sends too little money to local school districts.

The Kansas House? Not just yet. It’s advancing a plan that would continue adding school spending for another year, and only another year.

After recruiting only three teachers in Kansas last year, nonprofit Teach For America is asking lawmakers for a quarter of a million dollars to continue working for the state.

In 2018, legislators appropriated $520,000 for Teach For America to recruit 12 teachers.

Chris Neal of Shooter Imaging / Kansas News Service

Simplistic crisis plans and missing mandatory training by some Kansas schools led the Kansas Board of Education on Tuesday to reinforce its suicide prevention requirements.

Suicide rates in the United States have been going up for years, but the rates have risen faster in Kansas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Kansas suicide rate increased by 45 percent from 1999 to 2016.

File/flickr Creative Commons

Kansas education officials are launching a yearlong study to improve early childhood programs and services.

The goal is to get a better understanding of the overall federal, state and local childcare and learning programs available for children under five.

Stephan Bisaha / KMUW/File photo

The Kansas State Board of Education on Tuesday adopted new standards for school safety.

The state Legislature ordered the guidelines in May in response to the school shooting debate.

The Kansas Legislature agreed to pay education nonprofit Teach For America more than $500,000 this year for a pilot program to recruit 12 teachers to the state.

But the national organization only recruited three teachers for the state in 2018.  All of them were placed in Kansas City, Kansas, where the local school district pays their salaries and benefits on top of another $3,000 per teacher per year to Teach For America.

Kansas News Service File Photo

Seven Kansas school districts freed from some state rules now say getting that special status isn’t worth the effort.

Those districts are part of the Kansas Department of Education's "Coalition of Innovative School Districts" program that started in 2013. Districts that join have the freedom to ignore state oversight on some of the ways they run their schools in exchange for pursuing novel approaches for improving student achievement.

Stephan Bisaha/Source: Kansas State Department of Education

Kansas' teacher shortage is growing worse.

The latest numbers from the Kansas State Department of Education for fall 2018 show 612 teaching positions remain unfilled by a qualified teacher. That's up from the 513 vacant positions from the same time last year.

According to the state, one possible explanation for the shortage is that schools have become less reluctant to report their vacancies.

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.

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