Education

KCUR 89.3 covers education issues across the Kansas City region and in Kansas and Missouri. 

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Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City Missouri School Superintendent John Covington has proposed shuttering about half of the district's schools, reducing staff by 700 positions, and moving headquarters out of 1211 McGee. A steep decline in enrollment has left school buildings half full, and the superintendent says that down-sizing will allow him to redeploy resources towards better instruction. He laid out the details in a plan presented to the school board Saturday.

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri's public schools will be getting more money in Governor Jay Nixon's budget for next year, but they will not be fully funded.

Under Nixon's budget, K-12 funding will increase by $18 million through the state's school funding formula. It's still $87 million short of what schools need to be considered fully funded.

Linda Luebbering, the Missouri State budget director, says given the difficult budget situation, any increase is good

Kansas City, Mo. – Positive parental involvement - it's linked to everything from higher test scores to good behavior in the classroom, and for more than 100 years the PTA has been encouraging parents to get involved.

However, over the last five decades the non-profit's membership has steadily shrunk.

Today the PTA is about half the size it was fifty years ago and is largely clustered in the suburbs, leaving urban districts to account for just a fraction of it's membership.

Kansas City, Mo. – A new pot of federal money will soon be available to school districts that take steps to dramatically transform low-performing schools. Federal officials met with area school districts and community members yesterday to explain the new program.

Missouri districts with schools ranking in the bottom 5% in test scores and graduation rates will be eligible to apply for these funds in the next month. But districts must agree to turn around the low-performing schools in three years by choosing one of several models.

Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Kansas school board recently selected a new superintendent by unanimous vote. They decided to promote from within the district, and chose Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Business Cynthia Lane. The current superintendent, Jill Shackleford, will retire in July.

Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Missouri school district holds the first of a series of public forums tonight for input on future school closures and layoffs. The district would have to close as many as half of its buildings, and lose about one third of its employees to be the same size as other districts with similar enrollment.

Topeka, KS – A cash crunch forced Kansas to delay $173 million in aid payments to its public schools this month, and a top education official said Tuesday that a few districts need help from the state to make their December payrolls.

State Budget Director Duane Goossen confirmed that there hasn't been enough money in Kansas' main account to meet its obligations to its 295 school districts. Some funds due in December might not be sent until early January.

Lawrence, KS – Kansas universities are looking at ways they can save cash in the future, as the recent trend of budget cuts could continue into the coming fiscal year and beyond.

K-State Audit Prompts Policy Changes

Nov 20, 2009

Kansas City, MO – Compensation for Kansas State University football coach Bill Snyder accounted for most of $845,599 in questionable payments cited by a state audit. The university's president said Thursday that none of them were improper.

President Kirk Schulz told the Kansas Board of Regents, which oversees the state's higher education system, that Snyder did nothing improper - something the coach himself has said repeatedly. Schulz later said the same is true for a former athletic director and former university vice president.

Kansas City, MO – The University of Missouri-Kansas City will have to make due with about $4 million less from the state next year. It reflects an agreement with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to cut higher education funding statewide by only 5 percent in exchange for holding tuition steady next school year.

UM System President Gary Forsee stopped in Kansas City for a town hall with some 200 students, faculty, and staff. Forsee says knowing about budget cuts now makes planning easier.

Topeka, KS – Tight state cash flow means the Kansas Department of Education is having a tough time making some payments to school districts. That's causing headaches for some school administrators.

Kansas City , Mo. –

Missouri Drops Integrated Math

Oct 22, 2009

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says it is dropping plans to create statewide math exams using an "integrated math" curriculum.

Integrated math offers a sequence of courses that teaches some algebra, geometry and higher math in the first year, followed by more complex concepts the next three school years.

It replaces a system used in many districts where math is taught in a sequence of algebra I, geometry, algebra II, and then higher level courses.

Topeka,KS – The Kansas Board of Education is kicking off its search for a new state education commissioner.

The Board of Education is calling on a national group to help find a new commissioner. The National Association of State Boards of Education will advertise the position across the country and collect candidates.

Kansas Board of Ed Chair Janet Waugh says they'll need to search a wide area, because the right candidate will need a variety of skills.

Jefferson City, MO – AT&T Missouri has agreed to settle a lawsuit that accuses the company of violating the False Claims Act in connection with an internet access program for schools.

The E-Rate program enables schools and libraries in low-income neighborhoods to gain access to the Internet. Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller says the suit accused AT&T Missouri of colluding with school officials in Kansas City to engage in non-competitive bidding practices:

Topeka, KS – The Kansas House Appropriations Committee is looking at consolidating public school districts as a way to help the state save cash and make it through the budget crunch. Statehouse Reporter Stephen Koranda has more.

Best Neighbor Top 25 Tags UMKC

Oct 12, 2009

Kansas City, Mo. – From a survey of every university, college and junior college in the nation, relatively tiny University of Missouri-Kansas City is ranked fourteenth for its work in the urban community. The survey was drawn by the president of Westfield State College in Massachusetts, Evan Dobelle.

Jefferson City, MO – The chair of the state Senate Appropriations committee is calling on Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to consider providing more money for the Career Ladder program this year when new revenue estimates come in.

UMKC's Urban Education Program Get $8 Million Grant

Oct 8, 2009

Kansas City, MO – The Institute for Urban Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City is receiving an 8 million dollar federal grant.

The five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education will help the four-year-old institute expand its efforts to train education majors to work in urban classrooms. The grant will allow the institute to hire more professors and increase student enrollment in the program.

The school of education's dean says the grant suggest the focus on urban education is cutting edge and nationally relevant.

Senate Confirms Former Kansas Education Commissioner

Oct 8, 2009

Kansas City, MO –

The U.S. Senate has confirmed former Kansas education commissioner Alexa Posny's appointment to a federal education post.

President Barack Obama nominated Posny as assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services in July. She worked for the U.S. Department of Education from 2006-07 as director of special education before becoming Kansas education commissioner.

When announcing Posny's nomination, the White House noted her experience as both an administrator and a teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Lawrence, KS – University of Kansas officials, politicians and industry leaders broke ground Monday on a new Bioscience and Technology Business Center on the KU campus.

The 20,000 square foot facility is aimed at growing life science industry in Kansas.

The $7.25 million incubator will provide space for space and high tech equipment for new bioscience companies.

Kansas City, KS – In May, the University of Kansas Board of Regents named KU's 17th Chancellor, replacing Robert Hemenway, who had served in that role for 14 years. It turned out to be a history-making choice.

Kansas City, MO – Eleven area school districts are suing Jackson County for allegedly giving incorrect property tax assessments.

Independence Superintendent Jim Hinson says the school districts lost a total of $35 million because the county used old figures and did not count several plots of school-owned land.

The county blames the economic downturn for the lower property values. Home values in Jackson County are down 7 percent this year.

Kansas City, MO – At the beginning of July, John Covington started his work as the new superintendent of the Kansas City Missouri School District. He comes with a track record of boosting student achievement in Pueblo, Colorado and in a small district in Lowndes County, Alabama, which is near where he's from. But in Kansas City, most people agree; Covington has his work cut out for him.

Melissa Eddy testifies before the Joint Committee on Education of the Missouri General Assembly. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Kansas City, MO – The Joint Committee on Education of the Missouri General Assembly heard public testimony last night, about the governance of the Kansas City school district. Community members talked about whether an appointed board might run the district better than the current elected board.

Over the past year, members of General Assembly have drafted legislation that would create an appointed board, or eliminate the sub-districts. Parent Melissa Eddy heads the organization Do The Right Thing for Kids.

State Likes KCMO School District's Plan

Jul 10, 2009

Kansas City, Missouri – Early reviews of the Kansas City Missouri School District's plan to earn back its state accreditation are positive.

The district submitted a revised roadmap back to full accreditation to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education yesterday and the state likes where the district is headed.

Director of School Improvement Support Ginny Vandelicht contrasted the new report with the one she received in March.

Kansas City, MO – About a hundred and fifty people packed a meeting room at the Kansas City Missouri School District headquarters last week. Many came to protest the closing of about a dozen schools. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross was there.

Audria Royster is going into sixth grade at McCoy Elementary School in Blue Valley.

Kansas City, MO – About 150 people packed a meeting room at the Kansas City Missouri school district headquarters last night. Many came to protest the closing of about a dozen schools. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross was there.

Community Focus For Funkhouser Education Summit

Jun 5, 2009
Photo courtesy of KCCG, Channel 2.

Kansas City, MO – When Mayor Mark Funkhouser spoke of an Education Summit in his State of the City address most people thought he was talking about intervening in the troubled Kansas City, Missouri public school district. It turns out he was talking about a lot more.

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