Education

Initial Numbers Show Higher Enrollment in Columbia Public Schools

Aug 16, 2017
Columbia Public Schools

Enrollment in Columbia Public Schools has increased by 294 students since last year.

Columbia Public Schools released preliminary enrollment numbers on Tuesday, which was the first day of the new school year. Total enrollment for all schools was 18,585, according to a news release from Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark.

The Missouri State Board of Education on Tuesday advanced what’s been characterized as a “skinny” plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

Better known as ESSA, the Obama-era reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act replaces the controversial No Child Left Behind Act as the law governing school accountability. Among other things, ESSA outlines how federal Title I dollars should be distributed to schools with large populations of students living in poverty.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media/KBIA

This story is part of the special series United And Divided, which explores the links and rifts between rural and urban America.

Schools in rural school districts often don’t have the budget or the teachers to offer students all of the courses they would like to take. One rural district in a Missouri county decided to offer credit for online classes in an effort to give its students the educational opportunities it can’t otherwise afford.

In Jefferson County in eastern Missouri, the high school, middle school and elementary school that make up the Grandview R-II School District all occupy the same campus.

gavel
Flickr / steakpinball

A parent has sued the Blue Springs School District alleging an unchecked culture of bullying contributed to the suicides of one student and the subsequent suicide of that student's best friend.

The Kansas City Star reported the lawsuit filed last week says the two teenage boys were bullied, harassed and discriminated at one of the middle schools and a high school. The lawsuit filed by Rebecca Lewis accuses the school district of violating anti-bullying laws by downplaying complaints.

Lincoln University / flickr

  Lincoln University in Jefferson City is struggling to respond to a budget gap created by cuts in state and federal appropriations and a history of being mostly forgotten by government officials.

The university is one of two historically black colleges in Missouri. It says it will lose $3.8 million in state and federal funds for the 2017-2018 academic year. In response, Lincoln is cutting 48 positions and reducing employee pay by 0.5 percent. It's also increasing tuition by 2 percent.

Tax Revenue Shortfalls Could Mean More Cuts for MU

Jun 29, 2017
KBIA

It appears the bleeding hasn't stopped.

Just as the UM System Board of Curators passed its budget for fiscal 2018, tax revenue shortfalls could set the stage for more cuts in higher education funding across Missouri.

Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, said on Wednesday that state revenue growth was below 2 percent instead of the projected 3 percent for fiscal year 2017. That means Missouri is facing a $150 million shortfall heading into fiscal year 2018, which begins Saturday.

MU to Rent Out Vacant Residence Halls, Tackle Declining Enrollment

Jun 22, 2017
KBIA

One way MU can make some money as it struggles with declining enrollment and lagging state support is to rent out empty residence halls to football fans, eclipse watchers and others who come to town to visit.

Sara Shahriari

UM System President Mun Choi announced today that the UM System is focused on saving students money on course materials.

According to Choi, the University will develop a system-wide strategy to encourage use of quality open educational resources – which are free to students. The university will also focus on Auto Access, a program that makes books available online at a lower cost than traditional textbooks.

"Our goal is to move into the future by introducing more open source material so our students can have an outstanding, affordable education," Choi said.

MU Reduces Hours of Student Center, Recreation Center and Unions

Jun 14, 2017
Adam Procter / flickr

During the semester, rising MU sophomore Brett Young liked to work out in the evenings on weekends and late at night during the week.

That's likely to change.

Young, 19, was surprised to learn Tuesday that the MU Student Recreation Complex was one of several facilities that will reduce their hours of operation this fall in a money-saving move by the MU Division of Student Affairs. The MU rec complex will be open eight fewer hours per week when school starts up again.

Joplin city leaders and school officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Kansas City University of Medicine and Bioscience campus on Tuesday.

Built near the site of what was the parking lot of the old Saint John’s Regional Medical Center, which was destroyed in a 2011 tornado that killed 161 people, the new medical school was described as a “phoenix rising from the ashes.”

University Village Apartments
Miranda Metheny / KBIA

The University of Missouri will pay $750,000 to settle claims filed after a Columbia firefighter died in a walkway collapse at a university apartment complex.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the settlement finalized Monday comes in a lawsuit filed by the widow of Lt. Bruce Britt. The suit alleged that the university didn't properly maintain the University Village Apartments, where Britt died in February 2014 while evacuating residents. The apartments have since been torn down.

University of Missouri

The University of Missouri plans to close its Washington-based lobbying office by the end of the summer, costing two staff members their jobs.

The cuts are part of the university's system-wide budget reductions announced Friday by president Mun Choi.

Federal disclosure reports show the university system spent $320,000 in 2016 on the Washington lobbying operation.

UM Strategic Communications Workers Laid Off

Jun 1, 2017
University of Connecticut

 

The UM System began a round of administrative layoffs in its University Relations Office on Wednesday, according to reporting by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Kelly Wiemann, assistant director of strategic communications, declined Thursday afternoon to confirm the layoffs, saying she couldn't comment on personnel matters.

There are a lot of fluid decisions happening, Wiemann said, adding that nothing has been legally finalized.

Columbia Public Schools

Columbia Public Schools has found its chief equity officer for the district.

Carla London will be the chief equity officer after serving as the district’s director of student services.

According to Columbia Public Schools, London has also served as the district’s supervisor for student and family advocacy. London also coordinated the Aspiring Scholars program for secondary schools from 2002 to  2006. Before working in the district, London was a middle school teacher in Texas.

Tailor Institute

A Cape Girardeau institute that helps autistic people will remain open despite losing its state funding.

Officials with the Tailor Institute say they were expecting state funding to arrive July 1, but instead were told the funding has been notified.

The institute works with autistic people to develop skills to become independent, particularly in the workplace.

The Southeast Missourian reports the institute operated on an annual $200,000 state grant.

Director Carrie Tracy says the institute's staff was not given an explanation for the funding cut.

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

As the University of Missouri’s new chancellor steps into office later this year, he will do so with a larger base salary than his predecessor.

When former chancellor R. Bowen Loftin took office in 2013, he was offered a base salary of $450,000 a year before bonuses. Alexander Cartwright, who will be taking over the same position, signed a contract Wednesday to make about 8 percent more, $485,000 a year. In the same time period, the consumer price index, which measures cost of living, has only gone up about 3 percent.

The former interim president of the University of Missouri system will be the fill-in overseer of Lincoln University in Jefferson City.

Lincoln University's governing board announced Thursday that Mike Middleton will take on the new role as of next Thursday.

Middleton will be the interim president at Lincoln until a permanent successor to Kevin Rome is named. After four years at Lincoln, Rome announced in March that he will become president of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, as of July 1.

Nathan Lawrence

Tuition at the University of Missouri is going up this fall.

In its monthly meeting today, the UM System Board of Curators voted to raise tuition and fees on all four system campuses. These changes will take effect at the beginning of the 2018 fiscal year, which starts July 1.

Undergraduate tuition on all four campuses will be going up by about 2 percent. Nonresident graduate students at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla will feel the greatest increase. Their tuition will go up 6 percent.

umkc.edu

University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor Leo Morton plans to retire at the end of the next academic year.

Morton announced his decision Tuesday in an email to faculty. He has been chancellor since 2008, after being an administrator at Aquila Inc.

KCUR-FM reports that Morton says he hopes to spend his final year at the school completing projects like the Downtown Arts Campus, Career Development Institute and fundraising for a new engineering lab facility. He called the chancellor's job one of the greatest privileges and blessings of his life.

Lincoln University
Kristina D.C. Hoeppner

 

Lincoln University in Jefferson City plans to cut 48 jobs and reduce salaries as it tries to respond to a budget deficit.

The school, which is facing a $3.8 million deficit in its fiscal 2018 budget, announced Monday that 32.5 staff and 15.5 faculty positions will be cut.

KRCG reports a statement from the school said the jobs services it provides to students will continue knowing that the workforce is already stretched too thin.

Draft Budget Plan for MU Calls for Cutting 328 Jobs

May 21, 2017
KBIA

A draft budget for MU's upcoming school year released late Friday night called for eliminating $40.6 million in recurring costs and $18.9 million in one-time costs, according to a memo from MU Interim Chancellor Garnett Stokes.

The University of Missouri-St. Louis will reduce its spending by another 2.5 percent, campus leaders announced Friday, meeting a deadline that is part of a budget cutting process across the University of Missouri System.

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

Over 300 faculty, staff and students filled Stotler Lounge in Memorial Union on MU’s campus to attend a budget forum led by MU Interim Chancellor Garnett Stokes on Monday afternoon.

UM Campuses Release 2018 Budget Plans With Few Specifics

May 10, 2017
Jay Buffington / Wikimedia Commons

This post was updated at 11:10pm, 5/10/17

MU is cutting 12 percent of its budget from all schools, colleges and divisions on campus in fiscal year 2018, according to an afternoon email from Interim Chancellor Garnett Stokes.

"Good people and good programs will be affected," Stokes said in the email.

Columns at University of Missouri
File Photo / KBIA

University of Missouri officials reported today that they expect to see another small freshman class this fall.

Based on initial enrollment deposits, which were due Monday, university officials are estimating an incoming freshman class of about 4,000 students this coming school year, down from 4,780 students in 2016 and just over 6,000 in 2015. Freshman enrollment hasn’t been as low as 4,000 students since 2001.

Two Columbia Schools Get New Principals

Apr 26, 2017
Torie Ross / KBIA

Two top administrative vacancies at Columbia Public Schools are now filled for this fall. CPS announced Hickman High School Assistant Principal Tony Gragnani will move up to principal of that school, while Battle High School Assistant Principal Melita Walker will be the new principal at West Middle School.

Gragnani has served as an assistant principal at Hickman since 2014. He says the relationships he’s built during his time there will be important when taking on his new job.

University of Missouri

A top University of Missouri administrator announced Friday that she will be retiring after the end of the 2017 school year. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs will step down July 31. She has held the position since 2003.

In a statement, Scroggs said: “Mizzou has been my home for 32 years, and I’m very proud of the work we have done to support and serve students. Students come first in Student Affairs and that will never change.”

The University of Missouri's interim chancellor says he'll be leaving for new work as president at the New York Institute of Technology after May 3.  

North Carolina Central University

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Central Missouri's Lincoln University is searching for a new president after the campus' top administrator resigned for a similar position at another historically black college.

Kevin Rome resigned from the Jefferson City university to become the president of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Rome's resignation takes effect June 30.

Rome had been Lincoln University's president since mid-2013. The university's curators say that a search committee and transition team meant to find Rome's successor will be seated as soon as possible.

401K 2013 / Flickr

The Trump administration reversed previous guidance on the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) last Thursday.

The Obama administration put forth the guidance and stopped guarantor agencies from charging high fees on loan payments for students.

Students had to enter into a rehabilitation payment program within two months of defaulting on their loan to not be charged fees. According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than four million people who have FFELP loans are currently in default.

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