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Wednesday, 06 November 2013 03:30

MO supers offer student-transfer woes solution

   KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A group of Missouri school superintendents has developed an alternative to a state law allowing students to transfer from unaccredited to accredited districts.

   The Kansas City Star reports that under the plan, students in struggling districts could transfer to better-performing schools in their home districts. And after five years of failure, districts could be dissolved and distributed to accredited districts.

   Twenty leaders from around Missouri drafted the school-improvement plan and provided it to The Star on Monday. The draft says the existing transfer law "is not in the best interest of all students and will not lead to improvement of unaccredited districts."

   A spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro hasn't yet had a chance to review the proposal.

 
Published in Local News
Monday, 28 October 2013 03:45

MO officials weighing funding increases

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - After years of talking about less spending, some Missouri officials now are talking about more.

   Gov. Jay Nixon suggested recently that he would like to spend hundreds of millions of additional dollars on public schools before his term ends in three years.

   There may also be more money available for other programs in the next budget year.

   State departments already have turned in proposed budgets for the fiscal year that starts next July. And advocates for various social services have started making funding pitches to lawmakers.

   Nixon's budget director, Linda Luebbering, says revenues are looking better and there could be room to fund a few more things.

   House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream also says funding increases are possible for some programs.

 

Published in Local News
Thursday, 24 October 2013 04:43

Normandy to cut more than 100 teachers

   Normandy Schools Superintendent Ty McNichols will outline proposed budget cuts at Thursday night's school board meeting.  But Wednesday, district officials briefed employees about the plan as the struggling district tries to cover transfer costs for hundreds of students.  

   Teachers learned yesterday that 103 of the district's 650 employees will lose their jobs by the end of December.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that layoff notices will go out next month.  

   District officials say class sizes could go as high as 29 students and Bel-Nor Elementary School is expected to close.

   The district is projecting a $6.8 million shortfall this school year because of the added cost of the state mandated school transfer program.

Published in Local News

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says he plans a "significant down payment" toward his goal of fully funding the state's school funding formula.

   The Democratic governor told a gathering of public school leaders Wednesday he's working to fund the K-12 school formula by the time he leaves office in January 2017.

   The current year's budget provides almost $3.1 billion in basic aid to elementary and secondary schools. State officials project the current funding level would be $556 million short of the target for next year's budget.

   Nixon also said he wants to expand access to early childhood education and will continue implementing accountability measures such as the Common Core education standards.

 
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says he is working toward full funding for public schools by the time he leaves office in January 2017.

This year's budget includes has about $3 billion for elementary and secondary schools. But that's roughly $600 million less than what is called for under Missouri's school funding formula for this year.

The amounts prescribed by the formula change yearly. If schools receive all of the funds in this year's budget, Missouri would have to spend an additional $560 million to meet next year's target.

Nixon addressed the issue in a speech Monday to higher education officials. He won a second term as governor last year and is barred by law from seeking a third term.

 

Published in Local News
Monday, 21 October 2013 03:40

Malala inspires school curriculum

   WASHINGTON (AP) — The 16 year old Pakistani teen targeted for a Taliban assassination because she championed education for girls has inspired the development of a school curriculum encouraging advocacy.

   George Washington University announced Monday that faculty members are creating multimedia curriculum tools to accompany a book recently released by the teen, Malala Yousafzai. Several faculty members will pilot the curriculum early next year for both college and high school instruction. Free of charge, it will focus on themes such as the importance of a woman's voice and political extremism, the university said.

   The tools won't just look at the teen's story, but also how the same issues get reflected elsewhere, such as when girls face child marriage and pressures to leave school, said Mary Ellsberg, the director of the university's Global Women's Institute.

   "It's going to be really interactive and really encourage students to do ... activities outside of school, it will encourage them to get engaged in the communities and as well to help the Malala Fund directly," Ellsberg said.

   The university's Global Women's Institute is partnered with the Malala Fund, a nonprofit that seeks to ensure girls around the world have access to education.

   In 2012 when a Taliban gunman walked up to a bus taking Malala and other children home from school in Pakistan's volatile northern Swat Valley and shot Malala in the head and neck. Another girl on the bus was also wounded. Malala now resides in Britain, where she was flown for medical care. Her memoir is "I am Malala."

   _____

   Online: http://www.malalafund.org/

Published in National News
Thursday, 19 September 2013 00:25

Missouri S&T-Rolla reports record fall enrollment

   ROLLA, Mo. (AP) - Missouri University of Science and Technology is reporting record enrollment, including record numbers of female and minority students.

   The Rolla campus of the University of Missouri system released the figures Wednesday from the first four weeks of the fall semester.

   Registrar Deanne Jackson says total enrollment stands at a record 8,130 students, up 6.3 percent from September 2012.

   Female enrollment is at an all-time high, with 1,839 women attending. And the number of minority students rose 9.6 percent from last year, to an all-time high of 881.

 

Published in Local News

   Under Missouri's new rating system, the St. Louis Public Schools will lose accreditation in two years if things don't improve.  And under the state's transfer rules, students who live in unaccredited districts can transfer to schools in better performing districts at the expense of their home district.  

   The potential transfer crisis losing accreditation could create prompted an unprecedented meeting Tuesday between the elected and appointed city school boards.  It's the first time the two school boards have considered joining forces.

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the two groups spent two hours discussing one idea: asking the state to grant accreditation status to individual schools rather than entire districts.  

   Superintendent Kelvin Adams says under that system, almost half of the city's schools would still be unaccredited, but the rest -- 38 of the district's 71 schools -- would receive at least provisional accreditation.  

   Adams and others argue that means only students in the city's lowest-performing schools would be eligible to transfer and some might choose to go to better performing schools within the district.  After all, 20 schools in the city meet state accreditation standards, some with distinction. 

 
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri education officials are seeking an additional $6.8 million to help an unaccredited school district in the St. Louis area.

The State Board of Education approved the budget request Tuesday for the Normandy district. That's the first step in a process that ultimately requires the support of the governor and Legislature to become a reality.

Students started transferring out of the Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts this year under a state law that requires unaccredited districts to pay the costs for students who want to attend other public schools.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says Normandy is projected to run out of money in March.

The additional funding recommended Tuesday would come as a supplemental state budget item to be considered after lawmakers convene in January.

 

Published in Local News
Thursday, 05 September 2013 12:43

Lindbergh School District tops in the state

Some good news for one area school district.

For the fourth year in-a-row, the Lindbergh School District ranked tops in academic achievement in Missouri.

State education officials used data from the MAP test results to create the rankings. Students in the district in grades K-12 excelled in communication arts and math. Lindbergh High School had the highest score of any school in English-language arts. And three of Lindbergh's elementary schools ranked in the top 10 schools in the state.

The impressive performance led Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to label the district "Accredited with Distinction". 

Published in Local News
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