Small town snippets: Budget cuts and program grants

The legislature’s allocation of school funds and elimination of teacher tenure left some school administrators in smaller districts feeling uncertain about the future. School officials in LaCrosse and Ellinwood said they think the decisions made by the legislature could potentially be more of a burden than a benefit.

Transportation in southeast Kansas will be undergoing changes due to redistribution of funds by the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation. Those who rely on these services in Pittsburg will see changes in the near future. The Southeast Kansas Community Action Program is working to minimize the effects of the budget cuts.

A family farm in Atwood, Kan. will be able to develop new technology allowing for mobile slaughter and processing of poultry. Chris Sramek was awarded a grant from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program for the research and development of this new mobile unit.

Small town snippets: Outward migration, rural innovation

New census data indicated that more people are leaving the state rather than moving in. From April 2010 to July 2013, Kansas experienced an increase in overall population change, but a net loss of approximately 10,000 residents due to outward migration.

Innovative programs are being implemented in the educational system. Schools in Lyon County are taking learning outdoors to teach math and science and give students a more hands-on experience.

The central Kansas communities of Claflin and Ellinwood are coming together to help promote local events and attract more people to the area. Through the new joint venture, community leaders hope to bring more opportunities to the region.

Small town snippets: Healthcare, education, and broadband for all

Low wages for primary care doctors in rural communities has been one factor in the shortage of medical experts in these areas. However, President Obama’s budget for 2015 aims to encourage more doctors to work in the primary care field.

A recent survey by National Farmers Union Mutual indicated that slow broadband speeds in rural communities could be impeding education among children. With the internet becoming an increasingly useful educational tool for children, internet accessibility is crucial.

As reliance on technology increases, the federal government is working to expand the availability of broadband. The USDA, FCC, and Department of Education are developing programs to bring broadband access to more rural areas of the country.

Small town snippets: Rural housing, healthcare changes; agriculture education

Populations in western Kansas have been declining. However, a revised definition of “rural” in the new Farm Bill may help to revive the housing market in these areas due to the availability of USDA home loans.

A rural Kansas school faced impending closure until it decided to take a new approach to its curriculum. The Walton Rural Life Center adopted an agriculture-based curriculum and has seen an increase in enrollment since the curriculum’s inception in 2007.

A bill which would allow increased flexibility for outpatient services in small hospitals passed the Senate on Feb. 10. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-KS, prevents enforcement of the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.