The troubles for the St. Joseph, Mo., School District just keep getting deeper — and coming from unexpected directions.
The district is already under investigation by the FBI and the Missouri State Auditor. Now, Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) says the district improperly charged the state for more than two dozen summer school classes.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education received some bad news Wednesday.
Its application for a $17.5 million grant to boost the number of children in state-funded early childhood education programs was turned down by the U.S. Department of Education.
The grants were announced in conjunction with a Dec. 10 White House summit on early childhood development. Eighteen states will share $226 million in federal grants to either develop state pre-kindergarten programs or expand existing programs.
The state auditor blasted two Kansas City, Mo., charter schools Tuesday for mishandling their 2012 closures.
Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich gave both the Urban Community Leadership Academy and the Renaissance Academy for Math and Sciences "poor" ratings for wasting money and failing to keep adequate records as the schools shut down.
Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 10:02 am
About 12,300 fewer children attended federally subsidized day cares in Missouri during fiscal year 2013 than in 2012. That marks the largest decline in the country. But child service nonprofits say it’s unlikely the decline is due entirely to a reduction in need. Instead, it may be due to changes within the state agency that administers the funds.
The St. Joseph School District in St. Joseph, Mo., faces a raft of problems, including an investigation by the FBI, a federal grand jury in Kansas City, the U.S. Department of Education and the Missouri State Auditor.
But at least one of the embattled district’s problems may be cycling to an end.
A survey of school districts in Kansas by an efficiency commission has raised some questions about benefits paid to school district employees. The survey from the K12 Performance and Efficiency Commission showed differences in retirement and other benefits offered to employees.
Dave Trabert is a commission member and he also heads the Kansas Policy Institute, a think tank advocating for what they call a "low-tax, pro-growth environment."
He questions the higher benefits packages offered by some districts.
Kansas City Public Schools Supt. Stephen Green announces the district has regained provisional accreditation from the state. Green has expressed his desire the State Board will select a new commissioner with more experience dealing with urban districts.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education wants to know what qualities the public values in its next education leader.
Current education commissioner Chris Nicastro plans to retire at the end of the year, leaving the State Board about two months to hire her replacement. The department released its criteria for selecting a new leader on Tuesday.
Bradley Covington, a senior at Lee’s Summit North High School in Lee's Summit, Mo., remembers well the time he planned out Santa Claus’s Christmas Eve route.
“We had to think of all the problems we could face: where he would travel, the direction he would travel, how he’s going to travel to all these places,” he says. “We had to actually specifically look up the time zones, to find which ones Christmas would fall in first.”
Everyone, it seems, wants more children to attend pre-kindergarten.
Just last week President Barack Obama called for 6 million more high quality early childhood education slots by the end of the decade.
But the United States now has fewer children in state-funded pre-K programs, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. About 28 percent of 4-year-olds were enrolled across the country. Overall there were 4,301 fewer children in pre-K classes in 2013 when compared to the previous year.
University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little moved quickly to place Kappa Sigma fraternity on interim suspension after allegations of a sexual assault at the house over the weekend.
Lawrence police say the alleged crime was reported early Monday morning. According to the university, Gray-Little authorized the interim suspension letter Tuesday. That letter was hand delivered to the Kappa Sigma house. The action and police investigation were announced Wednesday.
The university's Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access is also investigating.
Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Green celebrated the district's recent successes in his annual State of the Schools address Tuesday.
The district regained provisional accreditation last month after losing its standing with the state in 2012. Green, who took over as superintendent shortly thereafter, says many believed at the time the district couldn't be saved.
But he says that attitude isn't helpful in education.
Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 10:59 pm
Depending on whose opinion you get, this week’s initial meetings to draw up new school standards for Missouri students were a “Common Core cheerleading session” or a strong-arm attempt that was “hijacked by political extremists” on the right.
Either way, the eight committees impaneled under a law passed earlier this year appear to have a long way to go to meet a deadline of having the new standards ready for approval a year from now.
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is jumping into an area it’s never tackled.
At a packed event at the Chamber's Union Station headquarters, Chamber President Roshann Parris said the organization has a new item for its Big 5 agenda of civic goals: making sure every child in the metropolitan area is ready for kindergarten.
"No single issue impacts the health and vitality of our regional community and regional workforce more than education," Parris said.
There’s been a push in the past couple of years to improve both the access to and quality of pre-kindergarten education.
Now the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce will jump into that effort and add early childhood development to its Big Five initiative.
Chamber President Roshann Parris says after meeting for months with area school superintendents, education researchers and, of course, business people, members decided that the best place to put their considerable clout and resources was in pre-K education.
Teach Great, the Rex Sinqufield-backed campaign to drastically change the way teachers are evaluated in Missouri, has shut down.
Last week, late in the day on Sept. 9, Teach Great spokesperson Kate Casas issued a statement saying the organization would not pursue the Amendment 3 campaign. She said that instead Teach Great would embark on a statewide listening tour and that it looked forward to working with elected officials on other grassroots efforts.
Instead, she now says, Teach Great is closing its doors for good.
Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro is retiring at the end of the year, according to a statement out Monday from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Nicastro has led DESE since 2009. During her tenure, the department oversaw the first transfers under a Missouri law that allows students from unaccredited school districts to leave for neighboring accredited districts.