Joseph Maraachli, accreditation, Joplin schools,
9:26 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Morning headlines: Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Family says Baby Joseph has died in Canada

A Canadian boy whose family's struggle to keep him alive despite overwhelming odds and spurred an international end-of-life debate has died.

Family spokesman and spiritual adviser Brother Paul O'Donnell says Joseph Maraachli, who became widely known as Baby Joseph, died Tuesday. He was 20 months old.

Joseph suffered from the progressive neurological disease Leigh Syndrome. Canadian doctors refused to perform a tracheotomy to extend his life earlier this year, calling it futile because the disease was terminal. An Ontario court decided doctors could remove the child's breathing tube.

His family sought help from American hospitals. Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis agreed to treat Joseph, and he received the tracheotomy in March. He spent a month at Cardinal Glennon before returning home.

Joplin schools to be rebuilt by August 2014

Joplin school officials have set a tentative deadline of August 2014 to have five schools destroyed by a tornado rebuilt. The Joplin Board of Education approved the timeline Tuesday night.

The plan is for East Middle School and two elementary schools to be done by December 2013. Then, Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center would be completed by 2014. The schools were destroyed by a May 22 tornado that devastated the southwest Missouri city.

Superintendent C.J. Huff says construction costs for the project will likely exceed $100 million. The Joplin Globe reports  that insurance will pay only the rebuilding costs for what the district already had, not for any improvements or changes. The board plans to open demolition bids Friday and have demolition begin in October.

Mo. lawmakers to take up school accreditation issues

School districts in Missouri's two largest cities - Kansas City and St. Louis - now are unaccredited. The state's Board of Education revoked the accreditation of the Kansas City School District last week, which gives officials two years to improve or risk state intervention. St. Louis schools lost their accreditation in 2007, and a special three-member transitional board has been given responsibility over the district.

The Missouri Legislature's Joint Interim Committee on School Accreditation planned to meet Wednesday afternoon in the state Capitol building. The committee has six state senators and six House members.