Kansas Lawmaker Hearkens Back to 1859 School Aid
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas lawmaker has stirred up the debate over education funding with a brief history lesson about school finance and the state's founding. Republican Senator Greg Smith of Overland Park distributed a computer run showing how state aid to school districts would have been distributed under language on public education originally included in the state constitution in 1859. Voters adopted the current education article as an amendment in 1966. The original language distributed the state's funds "in equitable proportion" to the number residents between 5 to 21 years old. Using the 1859 method, the Wichita school district would lose $21.4 million in aid and the Kansas City, Kansas, district would lose $33 million. Meanwhile, the Blue Valley and Shawnee Mission districts in Johnson County would gain a total of $67.5 million.
Hutchinson Newspaper, Five Others Up for Sale
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Harris Enterprises has announced plans to sell its six newspapers. John Montgomery, vice president of Harris Enterprises and publisher of The Hutchinson News , announced yesterday (FRI) that the company's newspapers are up for sale. The Hutchinson-based company said it has hired a firm to sell the chain. Bruce Buchanan, president of Harris Enterprises, said in a release that the owners hope to sell all six newspapers as a group, but that it may be necessary to deal with more than one buyer. Harris family involvement in the newspaper business began in 1907 when Ralph Harris bought The Ottawa Herald. In addition to the Herald and The Hutchinson News, the family-owned company also owns the Salina Journal, The Garden City Telegram, The Hays Daily News and The Burlington, Iowa, Hawk Eye.
Lawrence Journal-World Sold, Ending 125 years of Family Ownership
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas daily newspaper that has been owned by the same family for nearly 125 years is being sold to a different family-owned operation based in West Virginia. Lawrence Journal-World Editor Dolph C. Simons Jr. on Friday announced the pending sale to Ogden Newspapers Inc., which publishes 40 daily newspapers, several magazines, weekly newspapers and shoppers in 14 states. The Journal-World reports Ogden's Kansas holdings include Topeka-based Cappers, Grit and Mother Earth News magazines. The Simons family has owned the Lawrence newspaper since Wilford Collins Simons launched the Lawrence Journal in March 1892, acquired the Lawrence World in 1905 and merged the two in 1911. The sale also includes weekly newspapers in Shawnee and Tonganoxie, more than a dozen websites and Sunflower Publishing, which produces niche publications. University of Kansas prof alleges anti-German discrimination
Fired Professor Sues KU, Claims Anti-German Bias
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A fired University of Kansas assistant professor is claiming anti-German discrimination and a hostile work environment in a civil rights lawsuit against the school. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Catherine Joritz is asking the court to reinstate her in the suit filed this week in Douglas County District Court. Issues arose when students in a spring 2014 basic video course complained about her. The suit said that student evaluations that became part of her permanent record made "angry, aggressive, anti-German comments" such as that she was a "Nazi sympathizer." The suit said one member of her tenure review committee cited Joritz's German background as a reason for the negative comments. University of Kansas spokesman Joe Monaco declined to discuss the case, noting that the litigation is pending.
Most Kansas University Leaders Not Getting a Raise
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Board of Regents has voted not to raise the salaries of five of the six state university CEOs for fiscal 2017. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the board also voted Thursday to raise the base salary of Pittsburg State University President Steve Scott by 2 percent. His raise will come in the form of deferred compensation. Scott is the state's most-senior university CEO. All university CEOs received 2 percent increases to their salaries last year but they said at the time that they would donate their raises back to their universities, citing budgetary challenges.
Linwood Woman Sentenced to More Than 9 Years in Deadly Crash
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas woman has been sentenced to more than nine years in prison for causing a deadly crash while using drugs. 37-year-old Jaime Carter, of rural Linwood, was sentenced Thursday in Leavenworth County District Court for the May 2014 crash that killed 49-year-old Mary Steuber and led to the amputation of one of her husband's legs. The Leavenworth Times reports that Steuber was riding with her husband on a motorcycle when Carter's car crashed into them. Carter tested positive for methamphetamine and prescription drugs after the crash. Carter pleaded guilty last year to involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence of drugs, aggravated battery and driving with a suspended license. Carter's attorney, Elaine Halley, said her client has "severe mental illnesses" and "admits she made a terrible decision."
17-year-old to be Tried as Adult in Topeka Killing
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has ruled that a 17-year-old can be tried as an adult in a Topeka killing. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the decision to move the case against Christopher Shawn Pattillo to adult court was made Thursday in Shawnee County. Patillo was 16 in April when Brian Miller was fatally shot. Pattillo initially was charged in juvenile court with first-degree murder. Prosecutors allege Pattillo drove a van from which a gunman fired shots at two people. A second suspect also is jailed in the killing. Patillo's mother, Kimberly Hendrix, testified that her son has had a "hard life." The teen's father, also named Christopher Shawn Pattillo, is serving a sentence of 22 years and eight months in prison in the 2003 shooting death of a 36-year-old man.
Judge Reiterates Kansas AG Kobach Unable to Encumber Voting
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge is standing by his earlier ruling that Secretary of State Kris Kobach has no legal right to bar people who register to vote using a federal form from voting in local and state elections.
This week, Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis (Tice) rejected Kobach's request to reconsider his January decision, which came after the executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission required proof-of-citizenship on the national voter registration form in Kansas, Georgia and Alabama. The court previously said the right to vote under Kansas law is not tied to the method of registration. It is unclear what impact the ruling will have on Kobach's instructions this week to allow thousands of people who register at motor vehicle offices without citizenship documents to vote only in federal races.