Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 4:39 pm
Time is running out for Normandy schools in north St. Louis County to win extra funding from Missouri lawmakers this school year.
Normandy and Riverview Gardens have experienced an exodus this school year due to the student transfer law. Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro told the House Budget Committee Wednesday that she expects the Normandy School District will be bankrupt by the end of the year.
The Kansas City school district has released a school-improvement plan that was developed with a local coalition.
The plan's submission Tuesday to the State Board of Education comes one day after a consultant released a competing proposal. The consultant's plan calls for a state-run entity to recruit community groups and educators to operate schools in failing districts.
Unlike that proposal, the new plan calls for the unaccredited Kansas City districts to be designated as provisionally accredited. That would stop students from taking advantage of a state law to transfer to accredited schools. Instead, schools would be accredited individually.
Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher announced his retirement plans in a letter to the Board of Education.
Belcher will retire effective June 30, 2014 and will take a job as a faculty member in the University of Missouri College of Education. Belcher says that role will allow him “to stay connected with CPS through leadership development.”
A Missouri House subcommittee is considering whether to approve more money for student assessment tests under the new Common Core State Standards.
The standards are designed to put in place common nationwide achievement goals in math and language arts. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro told committee members Tuesday that implementing the Common Core in Missouri has not cost the state any additional money, but that measuring student performance under the new standards will.
Columbia College has named the two finalists in its search for its new President. One of them will fill the position that was vacated when Dr. Gerald Brouder retired in July after leading the college for 18 years.
The finalists are Scott Dalrymple – the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Excelsior College in Albany New York and Randall Hanna, Chancellor of the Florida College System, which comprises 28 community and state colleges in Florida.
Michael Kateman is executive director of alumni relations at Columbia College and is a member of the search committee that chose the finalists.
Federal education funds are going toward an enhanced immersion program and community partnerships to help some of Columbia’s most educationally at-risk students.
Frederick Douglass High School is among 14 schools across the state receiving funding from the federal School Improvement Grants program. The award includes $1.5 million to Douglass High School for use over three years.
Fayette High School continues to hold prayer sessions despite a legal complaint that claims the sessions are unconstitutional.
Fayette Superintendent Tamara Kimball says district administrators haven't considered ending the Friday morning sessions since the American Humanist Association filed a complaint in November. She says the district doesn't believe it has done anything wrong by allowing the Fellowship of Christian Students to conduct the sessions.
The University of Missouri has raised half of the $3 million it needs to build a teaching winery.
The Columbia Missourian reports that the university now is seeking matching money from the state for the facility. Plans calls for a research building and wine and food education facility to be added in later phases.
Missouri lawmakers are facing pressure to address a student transfer law and unaccredited school districts.
The law requires school districts without state accreditation to cover the costs for students who want to attend an accredited district within the same county or a bordering one. It makes no exceptions for those without room for new students.
Missouri now has three unaccredited districts. About 2,000 students have transferred from two districts in St. Louis County and transfers could start soon in Kansas City.
The University of Missouri will use a federal grant to form a new research center for patient-centered outcomes.
The researchers leading the project say the goal is to help doctors more easily navigate the complex web of health systems and providers, and come up with the best treatment options for patients based on their individual circumstances.
Now that Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher is eligible for retirement, he is weighing his options for next year. That’s according to an email Belcher sent out last week to Columbia Public Schools staff. One of his options could be a teaching position with the MU College of Education.
District spokersperson Michelle Baumstark says Belcher sent the email to remain transparent about his situation with staff.
Tuesday was the first day candidates could file to run for the school board, and School board member Tom Rose has announced he will not run for reelection.
After seven years on the school board, Rose's term will expire in April. Rose plans to focus on his private veterinary practice, but he said he will still be involved with education.
“I'll still stay involved in the school, especially involved in early childhood education and those types of things but I also see that there are, can certainly give an opportunity for other people that had expressed interest in serving on the board as well," Rose said.
On Monday, Columbia Public Schools decided to redistrict the area around Mill Creek Elementary School, which means next year, about 100 students will be switching to either Grant, Paxton Keeley or Russell Boulevard Elementary Schools.
A proposal to circumvent thousands of potential student transfers in the Kansas City area will be considered by the state legislature next year.
If passed, the proposal would allow local school districts to set class sizes and student-to-teacher ratios, and once reached, those districts could not be forced to accept transfer students from unaccredited school districts. The bill has been pre-filed by Democratic Senator Paul LeVota of Independence.
A group of eight Missouri lawmakers are calling upon Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster to investigate concerns raised about Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro.
The lawmakers made the request Wednesday following a The Kansas City Star report. The report disclosed emails that raised questions about the selection of CEE-Trust as a consultant. The Indianapolis-based firm's bid for developing an improvement plan for the Kansas City district and other struggling schools was nearly three times higher than the closest competitor.
Gov. Jay Nixon wants Missouri's universities to freeze undergraduate tuition next year while also proposing more state funding.
The governor says the budget he recommends next year will include an additional $36.7 million for public universities. The 5 percent funding increase would be distributed using a performance-based funding system.
Nixon announced the proposal Wednesday at Missouri State University in Springfield.
The governor called for a tuition freeze at four-year schools for Missouri undergraduates in the 2014-2015 academic year.
The loss of a pet can be difficult for some to go through.
The MU College of Veterinary Medicine implemented a new program that helps pet owners and veterinary students go through losing a pet. TIGER, or Together In Grief Easing Recovery, was developed as a collaboration between the Research Center for Human Animal Interaction and the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
The University of Missouri Columbia named its new chancellor Thursday. R. Bowen Loftin, who announced in July he was stepping down as Texas A&M’s president, will now take over as chancellor for MU on Feb. 1, 2014.
Before becoming president of Texas A&M in 2010, the 64-year-old Texas native served as a professor of engineering and held leadership roles at Dominion University and University of Houston.