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Headlines for Saturday, February 21, 2014

Kansas House Panel Passes Teacher Wage Reform Bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas school boards would have the power to tell teachers "take it or leave it" in salary negotiations under a bill endorsed by a state House panel. The House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee approved the bill Friday, sending it to the House floor for further debate. The bill would allow individual teachers to negotiate outside of the normal collective bargaining structure and also would give school boards the ability to refuse to negotiate with any teachers' group.Republican Representative Marvin Kleeb of Overland Park said school boards would be unlikely to issue ultimatums, and the bill would be beneficial to the state's best teachers. But Mark Desetti, a lobbyist for the state's largest teacher's union, said the bill was designed to make it easier to cut teachers' salaries.

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Bill Restricting Sex Ed Approved by Kansas House Committee

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Schools would need to obtain parental consent before teaching sex education to students under a bill endorsed by a Kansas House panel. The House Education Committee voted 10-8 to approve the bill Thursday. Several Kansas school districts already require written parental consent, and others allow parents to request their children be excluded from such instruction. Supporters of the bill say that's not enough, because parents are often ill-informed about what the curriculums include. But Democratic Representative Carolyn Bridges of Wichita said parents already have access to all the information they need and they have the right to petition their school board if they disagree with the curriculum.Republican Representative Ron Highland of Wamego said he expects a heated debate on the bill on the House floor.

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USAF Report: Pilot Error Caused Mid-Air Collision

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The Air Force says an October jet crash in Kansas involving two F-16s occurred after one of the pilots failed to maintain visual contact with the other jet, leading to a mid-air collision. Air Combat Command in Virginia released its investigation into the jet crash near Moline, Kansas yesterday (FRI). After the collision, one of the jets crashed into the ground. The other was able to return to Tulsa Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma. The pilot who ejected suffered minor injuries. Both aircraft belonged to the 138th Fighter Wing at Tulsa, Oklahoma. They were flown by pilots assigned to the wing's 125th Fighter Squadron. The report says the pilots were participating in a combat maneuvers training mission when the collision occurred.The Air Force estimates the damage at $22.5 million.

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Second Professor Quits Amid UMKC Scandal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A second professor has resigned from the University of Missouri-Kansas City after an audit found that its business school knowingly submitted false data when applying for rankings and awards from national organizations. The university said yesterday (FRI) that John Norton's exodus as associate director of its Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will take effect March 15th. Norton's supervisor, Michael Song, quit as the institute's director last week. Norton told auditors he felt pressured by Song to do improper things related to the ratings but didn't speak up because he feared for his job and believed in Song's vision for the institute. In a statement released by the school, Norton says he remains passionate about teaching entrepreneurship but believes his "role in events of recent weeks may distract from that mission."

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