HPPR Health, Education & Welfare

Health

‐state policy‐impact of federal policy‐rural health care delivery‐access & availability

Education

‐state policy‐programs and opportunities‐access & availability

Welfare

‐state policies‐income levels‐wellness‐quality of life

Students at most state universities in Kansas will pay more to live on-campus than if they were to rent an off-campus apartment, according to an analysis by KMUW.

The analysis is based on new room and board rates unanimously approved recently by the Kansas Board of Regents. Pittsburg State University received the smallest increase — less than 1 percent for a dorm room shared by two students — while Wichita State University saw the largest increase at just less than 3 percent.

  

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Oklahoma’s prisons have long been overcrowded and underfunded. For example, the state’s three women’s prisons are at 129 percent of capacity.

To make matters worse, there is a shortage of corrections officers in the state.

Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh recently called the state prison system “a sinking ship.”

duggar11 / Wikimedia Commons

If you’re traveling through Texas this holiday season and planning to use the left lane, here’s a friendly reminder from KHOU in Houston: It is illegal in the State of Texas to drive slowly in the left lane.

Many Texans aren’t aware of the law, as it’s not enforced often. But according to state law, you should always drive in the right lane unless you’re passing another car.

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Amarillo school superintendent Dana West last week announced that the Amarillo Independent School District would be making use of the former Hastings Distribution Center on Plains Boulevard in Amarillo.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, AISD plans to convert the 200,000-square-foot building into a high school academy for science, technology, engineering and math students. It’s not yet known how exactly the academy will operate, or whether it will operate full-time or part-time.

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According to state and federal surveys, the rate of marijuana use among Colorado youths is dropping – despite the fact that the drug is legal in the state. And crime statistics across the state back that up. Yet law enforcement officers who have direct contact with younger people paint a different picture.

The former legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas thinks a practice among some school boards of restricting patron complaints at public meetings eventually will end up in court.

Doug Bonney, legal director emeritus for ACLU Kansas, said if barring complaints about school board members, the superintendent or employees is common, that doesn’t make it right.

Colorado Funds CHIP For Another Month

Dec 24, 2017
Pixabay

Colorado’s version of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is alive for another day.

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado lawmakers approved in emergency funding to run the Children’s Health Plans Plus (CHP+) for an extra month, if necessary, amid concerns that a short-term extension of the program’s funding OK’d by Congress won’t arrive soon enough to help.

Kansas colleges and universities could be facing steep state funding cuts in 2018.

A legislative committee discussing possibilities for balancing the state budget put the Regents on notice Wednesday, asking how an 18 percent cut would affect higher education.

“This system will look very different from the one we’ve enjoyed for a long time," answered Board of Regents President Blake Flanders.

Flanders says a cut that big would be a shock to the system.

“If we’re asked about cuts at about this level of cuts we always take it seriously," Flanders says.

From Texas Standard.

Multiple school districts in north and northeast Texas were notified by the Texas Department of Agriculture recently that they were likely exposed to a data breach. The warning estimates that personal information of some 700 students across 39 districts could have been leaked when an employee’s state-issued laptop was hit with a ransomware attack.

Public Domain

The Amarillo Independent School District will send students to school early again next summer, according to The Amarillo Globe-News.

USDoD/Public Domain

According to a new study, the average graduation rate of Texas charter schools students is almost 30 percentage points lower than that of traditional public schools.

As Houston Public Media reports, the 2017 study from the Texas Education Agency showed that fewer than two out of every three Texas charter school students graduated on time.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will pay out almost $7 billion this year through two safety-net programs that offer farmers some assistance during tough financial times.

While most of it goes to farmers who grow corn, soybeans, wheat and other crops, K-12 public schools also get a sliver of the total payout. That’s a benefit for often rural districts that are struggling due to state legislatures trimming back their cut of education funding.

Wallethub

Every year, America’s elderly population increases as baby boomers get older. That increase could mean a rise in elder abuse, if steps aren’t taken to ensure our elderly are taken care of. Some states are doing this better than others.

The personal finance website Wallethub set out to find which states have the best protections for the elderly, and the results were mixed for High Plains states.

Larry D. Moore / Wikimedia Commons

The presidents of two Texas universities—one public and one private—published an editorial in The Dallas Morning News this week, warning that the congressional tax bill will hurt Texas students and universities if it passes.

Misawa AFB

Oklahoma’s school districts got an early Christmas present this week, as it was announced that districts statewide would receive a $2 million grant.

As KOKH reports, the donation is being provided by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board. The grant will go toward educating Oklahoma students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, better known as the STEM subjects.

In the summer of 2005, the Legislature butted heads with the Kansas Supreme Court over a ruling that ordered an influx of money to public education.

The result? Kansas came closer than ever to a constitutional crisis.

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Last week, the Texas Tech Board of Regents approved a plan to study the feasibility of building a facility to house a new school of veterinary medicine in Amarillo.

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The State of Texas has come through at the 11th hour with funding for one more month of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Lawmakers came through with the money, in order to avoid having to send out Christmas notifications to nearly half a million children that they would be losing their health care.

A University of Kansas study supports the suspicions of lawmakers and advocates who believe there’s a link between additional restrictions on welfare benefits and an increase in foster care cases.

Michael Jones / The Texas Tribune

The open enrollment period to buy health insurance through the federal government ends Dec. 15. With the enrollment window cut in half and Trump administration limitations on the budget, more Texans could go uninsured.

From The Texas Tribune:

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According to a new study, Oklahoma has shown some improvements in smoking rates and obesity rates.

But, as The Tulsa World reports, the state still ranks last in percentage of uninsured residents. The figures come courtesy of the annual America’s Health Rankings report by the United Health Foundation.

Members of a legislative task force charged with fixing problems in the Kansas foster care system resumed their discussion of possible solutions on Tuesday.

Ichabod / Wikimedia Commons

Colleges and universities on the High Plains are bracing for upcoming battles as lawmakers move to begin taxing the value of student tuition.

Health navigators are available in Wichita to help people complete applications for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace before Friday's enrollment deadline.

One of the community sites offering free, in-person enrollment assistance is the La Familia Senior/Community Center north of downtown Wichita. A bilingual health navigator is taking appointments through Friday to help people get signed up for a health plan.

La Familia executive director Carla Lee says this is the third year the organization has offered the one-on-one assistance.

The new secretary of the Kansas Department for Children and Families has come in promising a thorough review of the agency, staffing changes and more accountability following allegations and outrage about problems in the state’s foster care system.

It’s easy to order food, get a ride or transfer money using a mobile phone, so now the U.S. Department of Education wants to make filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, just as easy.

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In Texas, it has grown increasingly difficult for poor families who qualify for welfare to receive any money from the state, reports The Texas Tribune.

According to some experts, there is so much bureaucratic red tape blocking indigent families from accessing the social safety net that many low-income Texans are left without the help they are due. The Texas Assistance for Needy Families program, better known as TANF, has been steadily shrinking for nearly two decades.

A mental health organization in Kansas is seeking solutions from the state after a national report shows ongoing disparities in mental health coverage.

color:#333333">Mark Buck can see some of the 314 turbines in Kansas’ largest wind farm from his office window in Medicine Lodge, where he is superintendent of the Barber County North School District.


The nearly $1 billion Flat Ridge project, built in two phases and owned in part by British Petroleum, spans 70,000 acres near the Oklahoma border in south-central Kansas. But unlike most other Kansas businesses, Flat Ridge pays no property taxes on its generators to fund local schools and other services.


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Suicide rates among farmers are at a higher rate than other occupation in the United States.

As The Guardian reports, last year, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that people working in agriculture – including farmers, farm laborers, ranchers, fishers, and lumber harvesters – take their lives at a rate higher than any other occupation.

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