Rural Majority

By Celia Llopis-Jepsen
Education Reporter, Topeka Capital-Journal
Photo by Thad Allton, Topeka Capital-Journa

In this eye-opening six-part series, Celia Llopis-Jepsen takes readers deep inside rural and remote schools in Kansas, which educate just over half of the state’s students. Readers learn of the little-known problems facing these schools: low enrollment, teacher recruitment and housing shortages, changing demographics, and the logistics of busing students from remote farms. Many rural schools are also facing serious financial difficulties as they grapple with budget and state income tax cuts.

Llopis-Jepsen also explores and analyzes how state policies and a lack of resources may be impeding solutions to rural schools’ most pressing problems, such as improving services for English learners and enriching children’s lives with the arts and school libraries. Her reporting reveals a Kansas that is locked in a long-running tug-of-war over school finance, a battle that could ultimately hurt rural schools and the students they serve.

This series appeared in the Topeka Capital-Journal newspaper and online during March 21-26, 2015.

Read Education Week’s article on this series, published January 24, 2016.

Read the Rural Blog’s article on this series, published March 25, 2015.