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More Kansas Teachers Leaving State, Retiring

Classroom spending cuts, uncertain school financing, low pay and eroding tenure protections all play into a hostile climate in Kansas that teachers and school administrators say is spurring a surge of teacher departures and retirements.

At least 3,720 Kansas teachers have left the state, retired or taken jobs outside of education after this past school year, a huge jump from the 2,150 who did so just a couple of years ago, according to a newly released data by Kansas State Department of Education.

The teacher exodus comes as a panel of district judges declared last month that key parts of a new state law for funding public schools violate the state constitution. The panel ordered an immediate increase in funds, but the Kansas Supreme Court later stayed that order pending its review.

But it is not just the financing problems fueling a perception education in Kansas is under attack. The GOP-dominated Legislature also tried to limit teachers’ bargaining power and sought unsuccessfully to pass a law that would allow teachers to be criminally prosecuted for presenting material deemed harmful to minors.