KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A private education reform group is preparing to release its recommendations for turning around Missouri's unaccredited school systems, even as debate continues over whether the consultant was appropriately awarded the contract.
The Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust, or CEE-Trust, has been hired to come up with ideas that could be implemented in the Kansas City school district and potentially also in Normandy, Riverview Gardens or any other districts that become unaccredited. The Indianapolis firm will release its draft recommendations Monday to the State Board of Education.
Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro has been criticized by some teachers' unions and Democratic lawmakers for the way the consulting contract was awarded. One of the main complaints is that CEE-Trust's bid was nearly three times higher than the closest competitor.
Parents in the De Soto School District are being warned about an outbreak of scabies.
District 73 officials sent a letter home with students Thursday notifying parents that one high school student, a junior high student, and an elementary student have been sent home with the skin condition.
Scabies is caused by tiny mites burrowing beneath the skin. It's extremely itchy and highly contagious.
District officials say they are taking steps to disinfect schools.
Students with scabies can't return to school without a doctor's note.
De Soto is about 50 miles south of St. Louis in Jefferson County.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - After years of talking about less spending, some Missouri officials now are talking about more.
Gov. Jay Nixon suggested recently that he would like to spend hundreds of millions of additional dollars on public schools before his term ends in three years.
There may also be more money available for other programs in the next budget year.
State departments already have turned in proposed budgets for the fiscal year that starts next July. And advocates for various social services have started making funding pitches to lawmakers.
Nixon's budget director, Linda Luebbering, says revenues are looking better and there could be room to fund a few more things.
House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream also says funding increases are possible for some programs.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says he is working toward full funding for public schools by the time he leaves office in January 2017.
This year's budget includes has about $3 billion for elementary and secondary schools. But that's roughly $600 million less than what is called for under Missouri's school funding formula for this year.
The amounts prescribed by the formula change yearly. If schools receive all of the funds in this year's budget, Missouri would have to spend an additional $560 million to meet next year's target.
Nixon addressed the issue in a speech Monday to higher education officials. He won a second term as governor last year and is barred by law from seeking a third term.
NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) - Several southwest Missouri school districts that have planned new safe rooms since a deadly May 2011 tornado destroyed much of Joplin say their projects could be delayed by the federal shutdown.
In Neosho that means more than $10 million in projects are on hold because there's nobody at the Federal Emergency Management Agency that can approve the work. Similar projects in Webb City, Avilla and Joplin also are in limbo because of the shutdown.
The Joplin Globe reports school officials believe a delay in awarding contracts could mean construction on the safe rooms might have to be pushed back until next year.
An architect for several of the projects says it takes six to eight weeks to complete the bid process after FEMA approves of the designs.
JENNINGS, Mo. (AP) - It wasn't long ago that the Jennings School District in north St. Louis County was on the verge of losing accreditation, just like the neighboring Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts did. Instead, Jennings is now in the midst of a turnaround.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that parents are more involved, attendance is up, test scores are rising and discipline problems are declining in Jennings.
Many credit superintendent Tiffany Anderson, who has gotten rid of underperforming teachers and principals and hired about 30 new teachers. She also reduced central office staff to free up money for classrooms and extended the school year for students in an accelerated middle school program.
Some good news for one area school district.
For the fourth year in-a-row, the Lindbergh School District ranked tops in academic achievement in Missouri.
State education officials used data from the MAP test results to create the rankings. Students in the district in grades K-12 excelled in communication arts and math. Lindbergh High School had the highest score of any school in English-language arts. And three of Lindbergh's elementary schools ranked in the top 10 schools in the state.
The impressive performance led Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to label the district "Accredited with Distinction".
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has named a former St. Louis-area school official to the State Board of Education.
Nixon announced the appointment of Vic Lenz Friday. Lenz, a Republican, is the former board president for the Lindbergh School District and immediate past present of the Missouri School Boards Association. He was assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the district from 1988 to 2003. He also worked as a teacher, counselor, administrator and principal from 1966 to 1988.
Lenz's term runs through June 2019 and must be confirmed by the state Senate.
Lenz replaces Sybl Slaugter, whose term has expired.
Several schools just north of Alton, Illinois were placed on lockdown today.
Officials with the Southwestern Community School District #9 sent a letter to parents last night telling them that they discovered a possible threat to students. There was an increased police presence at several schools and backpacks, large bags, and coats were not allowed on the campuses today.
Schools that saw heightened security included Southwestern Middle School, Southwestern High School, Brighton North Elementary, Brighton West Elementary, Medora Elementary and Shipman Elementary.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has passed a bill that would allow designated school personnel to carry concealed weapons in school buildings.
The Senate voted 26-6 Thursday to pass the measure. It now heads back to the House for further consideration.
The bill would allow school employees to voluntary become "protection officers" if they have a valid concealed weapons permit and undergo training for the position.
The legislation would also lower the minimum age required to obtain a concealed weapons permit from 21 to 19. It would also allow firearms of less than 16 inches to be openly carried even in municipalities that have ordinances against it.