September 27, 2019

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Kansas City area Education News

Kansas City school taxes will rise 23% as board declines to lower levy

By Mara Rose Williams, KC Star
Following the insistence of charter school leaders and some outspoken civic groups, the Kansas City school board on Wednesday voted unanimously to keep the district’s property tax rate as is. As a result, because of Jackson County’s messy reappraisal that caused a huge jump in the value of many homes, property owners are expected to pay 23% more on average in school taxes in the coming year. Members of the board blamed “a failure of leadership” at the county level for any financial impact on families. “To pit neighbors against their school district is utterly disgusting,” said Manny Abarca, the board’s treasurer. “We know where this anger should be directed, and that is at the county executive.” Board members said their decision was a difficult one, but the district can’t afford to reduce the levy without hurting students. They said they are only trying to make up for low tax revenues during the Great Recession.

Residents face tax increase after KC School Board votes to keep all $7M from Jackson County property hike

By John Pepitone, Fox 4 News

Homeowners in the Kansas City School District are bracing themselves for a big increase in their tax bills after the school board decided on Wednesday to keep all of the money from an increase in Jackson County property values.  Property owners face an average increase of 23 percent in their school taxes for 2020.  Because of the surge in property values following Jackson County’s reappraisal, Kansas City Public Schools now are projected to collect nearly $7 million more than the school board anticipated receiving when members planned the district’s budget for next year.  However, instead of giving that money back to homeowners by reducing its tax rate, the board unanimously voted to use all of the extra money to add 10 more pre-K classrooms and spend about $4 million on capital projects.

Students In Kansas City Classrooms Are More Diverse, But School Boards Remain Mostly White

By Elle Moxley, KCUR 89.3 Radio

Across the metro, Kansas City schools are serving more students of color, especially Latinos, but that diversity isn’t reflected on school boards. Without representation, students of color can feel like no one’s looking out for their interests. Those tensions played out recently in Lee’s Summit, where the all-white school board clashed with the district’s first black superintendent over diversity training. But that’s exactly the kind of training educators need to better serve children of color, said Nate Hogan, a Kansas City Public Schools board member who is black.

Copaken-led group buys former home of KCPS 

By Miranda Davis, Kansas City Business Journal

An investment group led by Copaken Brooks has paid an undisclosed amount for the former Kansas City Public Schools headquarters in Downtown. The building, 1211 McGee St., has evaded redevelopment since the district moved out in 2016. The 11-story, 261,800-square-foot structure sits on 2.58 acres and has a 246-space parking garage, occupying an entire block. The building is a block from Sprint Center and two blocks from City Hall. In 2018, Drury Southwest Inc. announced and then withdrew plans for a 242-room hotel at the site, saying the city’s incentive package was not enough to make the deal work. KCPS owns the building, which has been vacant since the district moved its offices to its current location, 2901 Troost Ave. The investment group that bought the property included principals of Copaken Brooks and Square Deal Investments. The deal closed on Sept. 12.

Missouri/Kansas Education News

8 Missouri schools earn National Blue Ribbon award

The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
By Ashley Cole, 5 on your side
Eight Missouri schools have been recognized as ‘Blue Ribbon Schools’ for 2019.  The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. “We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a video message to the honorees. “As a National Blue Ribbon School, your school demonstrates what is possible when committed educators hold all students and staff to high standards and create vibrant, innovative cultures of teaching and learning.”

  • Becky-David Elementary, Francis Howell R-III School District
  • Conway Elementary, Ladue School District
  • Daniel Boone Elementary, Francis Howell R-III School District
  • James Walker Elementary, Blue Springs R-IV School District
  • Oak Grove Elementary, Poplar Bluff R-I School District
  • Skyline Elementary, Hickory Co. R-I School District
  • Warren Elementary, Francis Howell R-III School District
  • Westchester Elementary, Kirkwood R-VIII School District

National Education News

Chocolate milk debate rages on as more districts ban the beverage

By Education Dive
The Tempe Elementary School District in Arizona is the latest district to ban chocolate milk, and the New York City Department of Education could be among the next to cut the drink from school menus in an effort to make school lunches healthier, District Administration reports.
Districts are on the right track when searching for ways to improve nutrition and cut the sugar content of school lunches. A study led by the Yale School of Public Health shows school policies and programs can reduce the obesity levels of students, showing students who attended schools with healthy school lunch policies had lower average BMIs than those who didn’t.  The study looked at schools with policies that made sure all school meals met federal guidelines, and nutrition information was shared with parents and students. Water was encouraged as the beverage of choice over sugary drinks.

Are Schools Prepared to Respond to Sex Abuse? Latest Probe Reveals Shortcomings

Chicago one of many districts falling short on Title IX

By Stephen Sawchuk, Education Week

A historic agreement overhauling the Chicago district’s sexual-harassment and -assault policies raises a troubling insight for K-12 districts nationwide: Chicago’s dysfunction in responding to sexual violence in school is probably not an anomaly.  The findings from the probe released Sept. 13 by the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights document a complete breakdown of Chicago’s systems for protecting students from sexual harm. But many other districts also appear to be failing to meet even basic requirements under Title IX—which governs sex discrimination in K-12 schools and in colleges—to appoint a coordinator and publicize their resolution processes, experts say.

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