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

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Democrats in the Kansas Legislature have unveiled a school funding plan as an alternative to the one introduced by Governor Sam Brownback.

The Democratic plan would increase school funding with the goal of restoring some of the cuts made in recent years. It would also provide about $45 million to help reduce local property taxes.

Representative Paul Davis of Lawrence is the top Democrat in the House. He says budget cuts to education in recent years have had a significant impact on schools.

The depiction of city schools as “among the worst in the nation” by the US Education Secretary and Kansas City’s mayor made bold headlines but slipped quietly aside as the mayor briefed the City Council today.

School Standing Loss Creates Academic Bedfellows

Dec 27, 2011

A recent study from University of Missouri-St. Louis may have Kansas City applications as the local school district prepares to lose its  accreditation in January. The survey finds how many students will leave the unaccredited system.

The October-November survey of some 600 St. Louis households finds nearly one-third of public school students would leave that  district if they could transfer to better-performing districts. State law lets them but the law is being contested.

Sylvia Gross

The Kansas City, Missouri school district has been shedding students over the past 40 years – from 70,000 in the 1970s to less than 17,000 today.  Some are worried about another exodus when the district officially loses accreditation on January 1st. Missouri law allows students to transfer to an accredited district, with tuition and transportation paid for by the unaccredited district. Area districts are still wrangling with transfer policies.

The Rebuild Joplin Studio Project

Dec 20, 2011

On this Tuesday's Central Standard, a look at UMKC's Rebuild Joplin Studio Project. For those working on it, they quickly learned that this is more than just another class, but an opportunity to rebuild a resilient Joplin.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

With Kansas City Public Schools losing accreditation January 1, the district has set up a new policy allowing for students to transfer to accredited districts.

Educators Pore Over New School Funding Formula

Dec 14, 2011

Kansas school districts are digesting a sweeping school finance plan proposed today by Governor Sam Brownback.

He promises no district will lose state funds via the proposal, which is designed to give local boards a freer hand in spending. It would also allow districts to raise property taxes.

The property tax cap, set by state law, would be removed under the Brownback plan, which would go into effect in July 2013. President of the Shawnee Mission School Board Craig Denny was struck by that and another provision.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback spelled out the details of his school finance overhaul Wednesday. It would allow local taxpayers to raise property taxes as high as they wanted for education. Currently, school districts can only raise  a limited amount of funding from property taxes: a maximum of 30 percent of the funding they receive from the state.

Saving Up For A Future

Dec 14, 2011

Today on Central Standard, a look at the United Way of Greater Kansas City, and how they're partnering with area non-profits to teach financial literacy.

Businessman Timothy Wolfe was announced as the new  president of University of Missouri system Tuesday morning.  Wolfe is a long time IBM executive and graduated from the University of Missouri School of Business.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Kansas Citians have been wringing their hands about the future of the Kansas City Missouri School District for decades. But at a press conference with Mayor Sly James at City Hall, school board president Airick Leonard West said that's changing.

Clay Masters / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media: With more families depending on the National School Lunch Program to feed their children, school districts are gearing up to implement new nutrition guidelines being handed down by the federal government by early next year.

Mentoring For Urban Youth

Dec 7, 2011
Legacy Foundation

There's an old proverb that asks, how do you eat an elephant? The answer, one bite at a time. Join us for a look at two area organizations that are doing their part, bite by bite, to help address the needs of KC's urban youth in the areas of childhood obesity, literacy and youth violence.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Kansas City Mayor Sly James and School Board President Airick Leonard West committed to a series of community conversations over the next few months about the governance of the school district. Neither has endorsed the idea of a mayoral takeover of schools, but they say no idea is off the table.

Mayor James says he began convening people to talk about the school district after Missouri education commissioner Chris Nicastro told him that it was difficult to do anything in Kansas City because it's so divided.

Pitch for KC Mayor To Run Schools

Dec 1, 2011
Photo by Dan Verbeck/KCUR

Kansas City, MO. – Kansas City's Mayor wants to run the Kansas City School District.

A forum of educators, politicians and parents drawn together by Kansas City's Mayor to save the district from a state takeover is wagering the Missouri Board of Education will buy in.

Rescue Plans Abound For KC Schools

Nov 30, 2011

Kansas City, MO – A diverse collection of forces are working alone or in concert to help the soon-to-be- accreditation-stripped Kansas City School District. One high profile group of minority leaders is asking Missouri's Education Commissioner to immediately appoint a panel to take over the District. Mayor Sly James has convened his own forum that includes neighboring schools.

The breaking developments come just days before the state education board meets and the local district is on the agenda.

Gone In A Fury: Top KC Educators Depart

Nov 10, 2011

Kansas City, MO. – The Kansas City School District has launched a fast search for administrators to replace three top executives who quit amid a furor over possible state takeover of the district. One school board member lays blame squarely on the state education department.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A proposal to eliminate the Kansas City Missouri school board won't be on the agenda at tomorrow's board meeting. But the state education commissioner has asked board members to replace themselves with a state appointed board, or risk a takeover in January.

Children at the Afrikan Centered school in Kansas City, MO.

LAWRENCE, Ks. – When the Kansas City Missouri school district officially loses its accreditation on January 1, 2012, students in the district may have the option of enrolling in other district's schools. And the Kansas City district would be required to pay tuition and transportation costs for any student who does that.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A new audit of the Kansas City Missouri school district shows a significant improvement in the district's operations and finances. The audit was requested in 2009 and looked at the district's expenditures and operations until June, 2010.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Missouri school district received one more disappointing blow this week, when the state board of education stripped it of its accreditation. And that was just weeks after Superintendent John Covington resigned unexpectedly to take a job in Michigan.

That leaves families in the district wondering what kind of trajectory Kansas City's schools are really on.

Leading Up to the Loss

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City Missouri schools will lose their provisional accreditation on January 1, after a vote this afternoon by the state Board of Education. In a recent review, the district met only three of 14 accreditation standards. District officials said they plan to move ahead with the transformation plan laid out by the previous superintendent.

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri's State Board of Education voted unanimously today to strip Kansas City schools of their accreditation. The reasons for the action include a decline in meeting academic standards and a failure to provide a safe and orderly environment for learning. Chris Nicastro is Commissioner of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

NYC Model for KC Dropout Boost

Sep 6, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Kansas City has joined a pilot project focused on finding jobs, internships and education for high school dropouts.

Project Rise challenges non-working, out-of-school 18 to 24 year olds. It is a work-in-progress.

Kansas City will receive nearly $4 million. Funding comes from a variety of sources including United Way and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

KC School Board Picks Interim Superintendent

Sep 1, 2011
Photo and audio clip courtesy of KMBC, TV-9.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City, Missouri has a new interim school superintendent to replace Dr. John Covington who resigned one week ago to take a more lucrative job in Michigan.

The board was under pressure to act quickly - with the state commissioner of education in town and a review of its accreditation status looming. But there is little doubt that the interim superintendent is qualified.

KC School Chief Hired to New Job

Aug 26, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Outgoing Kansas City School Superintendent John Covington will not be lured back. He's taken another job. At mid afternoon Michigan hired Covington to lead a new system for failing schools.

Covington announced Wednesday he was leaving the Kansas City post because he was victim of unfair treatment by the President of the Kansas City Board of Education.

Kansas City, Mo. – Twenty-four hours of furor and uncertainty over Kansas City schools continues. KCUR's Dan Verbeck reports the Kansas City Missouri School District's accreditation and local control may be at stake.

"Not impossible!" Words of Missouri's Education Commissioner that Kansas City schools might lose accreditation next month, due in large part to upheaval from Wednesday night's resignation of Superintendent John Covington.

School Board Tries to Win Back Superintendent

Aug 25, 2011
School board President Airick Leonard West, flanked by members Crispin Rea (left) and Joseph Jackson (right). Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross/KCUR.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City school board members are still hoping to convince John Covington to remain as superintendent, even while he's reiterated his intent to leave. And parents and observers are still reeling from his surprise resignation Wednesday.

While school board members deliberated on how to proceed, parent leader Jamekia Kendrix said that now, more than ever, the community needs to be involved in the education of the district's students.