Top Morning News 3.25.13 (UPDATED)
Updated 9:30 AM
The Kansas House and Senate will negotiate differences in their budget proposals; Pilot program for Kansas school districts under consideration; Lawmakers need more information on corporate farming law; Delaware tribe may more headquarters to Kan.
Delaware Tribe May Move Headquarters to Kan.
The Delaware Tribe of Indians is considering moving the tribe's headquarters from Oklahoma to Kansas. Dee Ketchum, a former chief of the tribe, says it is looking for property in the state, and focusing on Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties.
Ketchum says the tribe is not looking for land for a new reservation. But it could use the new headquarters for things like health care, housing and child care. He also acknowledged that gaming could also be part of an economic development effort.
The Delaware Tribe of Indians has about 10,500 members.
Kan. House, Senate Ready To Negotiate Budget Differences
The Kansas House and Senate have passed their versions of both budget and tax plans, but there's still more work to do.
Lawmakers Introduce School District Pilot Program
Legislators are developing a pilot program to free Kansas school districts from certain rules and regulations.
Republican legislators and school administrators say the program would support creative ways to increase student achievement, while having the flexibility to operate outside of state rules and regulations.
The plan would set up a five-year pilot program allowing up to 28 districts to form a coalition of innovative districts. Districts would apply to be part of the program, spelling out what their goals would be for improving student performance.
Senators approved the bill Thursday, sending it to the House for consideration. The Senate made changes to a similar version the House approved earlier in the session to expand the program from 10 school districts to 10 percent of Kansas' 286 districts.
The Kansas National Education Association and other groups are worried that districts granted innovative status will opt out of contract negotiations or hiring licensed teachers, which could harm educators and schools.
Senate Education Committee Chairman Steve Abrams says such concerns about teacher negotiations and putting unqualified staff in the classroom were "a red herring."
Rep. Ed Trimmer of Winfield, a ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee and a former teacher, says the bill is unnecessary and that many districts will choose to participate.
More Study Sought For Kan. Corporate Farming Law
State lawmakers have also decided they need more information before making changes to laws that restrict corporate farming.