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

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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
File 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.

Construction at Knob Noster's new baseball facilities. Photo by Alex Smith / KCUR.

Knob Noster, MO – For most public schools, May is the end of the school year and it's a busy time. But in the spring of 2009, many school administrators are also faced with another challenge: a large influx of federal stimulus money and a small window of opportunity to use it. KCUR's Alex Smith recently paid a visit to Knob Noster School District, which is in just that situation.

Joe Fox explains long division in his fourth-grade classroom. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

St. Louis, MO – It's the 25th year of Parents As Teachers, an early childhood program that began in Missouri.

It was the first of its kind when it began, and now Parents As Teachers is in every state and several countries.

Yet while the program is celebrating its anniversary, it's also facing a 10% cut in state funding from its home state.

Listen to the story here.

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City's school board unanimously selected a new superintendent this week. It's been 15 months since the previous incumbent Anthony Amato stepped down, at the urging of the board. John Covington (pictured) is currently superintendent of schools in Pueblo, Colorado, and he's worked in some smaller districts in Alabama, where he's from. Covington says he's eager to face the challenges of a large, urban district, and knows he'll be sitting in what's considered a hot seat.

Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Missouri school board unanimously selected a new superintendent yesterday: John Covington, who currently heads a school district in Pueblo, Colorado.

Covington has been in Pueblo for the past three years. Before that he worked in several smaller districts in Alabama; he's from Montgomery, originally. Covington recently completed training at the Broad Superintendent's Academy in Los Angeles. School board president Marilyn Simmons says that preparation will benefit Kansas City's schools.

Kansas City, MO – Two finalists for the job of Kansas City Missouri schools superintendent were named Tuesday afternoon. The candidates will answer questions at a public forum Wednesday evening at Paseo Academy.

Students at Rosedal Middle School build gears in Project Lead the Way's Automation and Robotics class. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross/KCUR.

Kansas City, MO – This week, Kansas legislators announced a new task force to study the state's shortage of engineering graduates. Leaders say there's an increasing demand for skilled engineers in areas such as energy, water and health care, which will play a key role in the state's future economic prosperity. Many colleges find that students who might be interested in engineering aren't academically prepared to succeed in the major. But a new curriculum in Kansas City area middle and high schools, on both sides of state line, is trying to fill the gap.