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SPOTLIGHT
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Palco students serve as pages in Topeka

Published on -3/4/2014, 7:38 AM

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Last week, the Legislature reached the halfway point of the 2014 session. The second half of the session will go quickly as the next hard deadline is April 4 -- "drop dead day" or first adjournment. That will be the end of the regular session and only will leave the veto session to compete this year's legislative business.

Pages for the week

Taylor Simoneau, Fallyn Handley, Kiley Marcotte and Maddy McClellan, seniors at Palco High School, served as pages Feb. 24. Simoneau and Marcotte served in the House of Representatives for Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady, R-Palco, and Handley and McClellan served for me in the Senate. Airika Long, a sophomore, and Blade Winter, a junior at Clifton-Clyde High School, served as pages in the Senate on Feb. 26. Both groups had their picture taken with Gov. Sam Brownback, ran errands for the day and had a tour of the Capitol with a trip to the top of the dome.

Sen. Elaine Bowers,

R-Concordia, represents the 36th District.

Elaine.Bowers@

senate.ks.gov

ALSO: It was a pleasure to introduce Marysville's Landoll Corp. to the Kansas Senate represented by Don Landoll, Paula and husband, Kerry, Phil and his wife, Sierra, on Feb. 18. Resolutions in both the Senate and House were presented to Landoll, recognizing his 50 years in business and the prestigious Kansas Chamber of Commerce Ad Astra Award. This award is presented to only one business a year in Kansas that exemplifies both business and civic excellence and recognizes a Kansas business for its unique contribution to the economic health and welfare of the state. Landoll's presentation at the chamber of commerce dinner left no doubt in anyone's mind Landoll Corp. is one of the most successful businesses in the history of Kansas, and we expect many more years of continued success.

Innovative School District

On Wednesday, chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees, along with Brownback, selected two schools to participate in the Innovative School Districts. McPherson and Concordia districts were chosen as the state's first two innovative districts upon approval of the Kansas State Board of Education. The selection comes after the Legislature passed a measure in 2013 to create the Coalition of Innovative Districts Acts to improve student achievement, allowing up to 29 school districts to have the ability to apply for waiver from certain state regulations. The goal of the designation is to allow districts the flexibility to use alternative teaching methods and work to get more resources into the classroom. Emphasis in the application grant from Superintendent Bev Mortimer's application will be to development new pathways relevant to the local community and the workforce. Two pathways identified are nursing and an energy system, both of which can be partnered with Cloud County Community College and industries located in north-central Kansas. Six other districts have applied to be included the Innovative School Districts.

Higher education

The Senate unanimously passed SCR 1616 on Wednesday. SCR1616 voices support for the Kansas Board of Regents' Foresight 2020, the strategic plan for the future of postsecondary education in Kansas. The legislation focuses on the importance of boosting the levels of higher education attainment in the state and emphasizing the role it plays in economic development. Foresight 2020 seeks to improve the proportion of the Kansas adult population with a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree to 60 percent by the year 2020. The Concurrent Resolution also highlights the need for a performance-based funding formula to meet the goals of Kansas Postsecondary education.

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