TOPEKA, Kan. — The Latest on the State of Board of Education’s response to criticism of a high-ranking Kansas education official (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle is criticizing the State Board of Education after it expressed full support for a top education official she had sought to have suspended.

The Wichita Republican suggested Friday in a statement that the board sided with “bureaucrats” who’ve misspent millions of tax dollars rather than with taxpayers.

The board voted 9-1 to express its full support for Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis in the wake of a state audit in December. The audit said Dennis and his staff were distributing transportation dollars to school districts using a calculation not authorized by state law.

Dennis has said top lawmakers signed off on the calculation decades ago.

Wagle and House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. sought to have Dennis and his staff suspended while an investigation was conducted.


3:40 p.m.

The State Board of Education has expressed its full support for a top Kansas schools official under fire from some lawmakers.

The board voted 9-1 Friday to advise Education Commissioner Randy Watson of its full support for Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis.

Watson would have the final decision on whether to discipline Dennis over questions about how some school funding dollars were allocated.

The board met after House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. and Senate President Susan Wagle sought to have Dennis and his staff suspended. Their request was a response to an audit last month that questioned how some transportation dollars were being allocated.

1:55 p.m.

The State Board of Education is having a private meeting with a top Kansas education official under fire from top Republican legislators.

The board held its session Friday with Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis after having a closed session to discuss legal issues related to the allocation of transportation funds.

The board convened after House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. and Senate President Susan Wagle sought the suspension of Dennis and members of his staff.

An audit last month questioned the legality of how some transportation funds have been distributed for years. The top Republican lawmakers said they want a thorough audit of school funding.

The audit said state law did not authorize the calculation in distributing transportation dollars. Dennis has said lawmakers knew of the practice for decades.


1:25 p.m.

Dozens of local school superintendents and Kansas lawmakers have packed the State Board of Education’s meeting room to show their support for a high-ranking education official.

The board had a closed session Friday to discuss legal issues and planned to have another one to discuss personnel matters.

It met after House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. and Senate President Susan Wagle sought the suspension of longtime Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis and members of his staff.

The Republican lawmakers’ request followed an audit questioning the legality of how some transportation funds have been distributed for years. They said they want a thorough audit of school funding.

But dozens of other lawmakers signed a letter supporting Dennis and four former governors sent their own calling for a vote of confidence in him.


12:30 p.m.

Four former Kansas governors are urging the State Board of Education to give a vote of confidence to a high-ranking education official under fire from legislators.

The four ex-governors sent a letter Friday supporting Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis ahead of a special board meeting. Former Republican Govs. Mike Hayden and Bill Graves and ex-Democratic Govs. John Carlin and Kathleen Sebelius signed it.

The board scheduled its meeting after House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. and Senate President Susan Wagle asked to have Dennis and members of his staff suspended. The Republican lawmakers’ request followed an audit questioning the legality of how some transportation funds have been distributed for years.

The four governors said the data provided by Dennis throughout his decades-long career has been of the highest quality.