A state audit released Tuesday finds that local governments and school districts in Missouri have cost themselves $43 million by not allowing competition for underwriting public bonds.
State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) cites the practice of negotiated bond sales, in which an underwriter is hired in advance and sometimes acts as a financial advisor to the local government that issues the bond.
Chris Guinther is wrapping up her final month as President of the Missouri chapter of the National Education Association. She’s led the teachers’ union since 2007, and will return to the classroom full-time at Francis Howell schools in St. Charles. St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin sat down with Guinther recently, where she talked about the challenges she says are facing Missouri’s public schools:
Some good news that reflects positively on Missouri’s public schools
State and local-level school officials would be required to develop guidelines for teaching evolution under legislation making its way through the Missouri House.
If passed, school districts would have to, “encourage students to explore scientific questions” regarding the “strengths and weaknesses” of both biological and chemical evolution. The sponsor, State Representative Andrew Koenig (R, Winchester), says House Bill 179 stresses academic freedom.
“It does not mandate curriculum to the teacher," Koenig said. "It’s really up to the school district, and if evolution is gonna be taught, it just allows them to teach the scientific strengths and weaknesses.”
A new spending plan for K-12 education in Missouri is now law.
Gov. Jay Nixon signed the education budget last night at a Kansas City-area Boys State event.
The budget includes record funding for public schools, but remains below the levels called for in the state's education funding formula. A fix was supposed to be a priority for lawmakers in the last legislative session, but the Republican Party couldn't agree on a solution.
Missouri lawmakers have wrapped up the 2012 legislative session. They passed 115 bills this year, nearly 50 of them on the final day alone. But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin tells us, several high-priority issues didn’t make it to the finish line.
The bill is pitting rural and suburban senators against each other. David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) chairs the Senate Education Committee and represents part of rural west central Missouri. He sponsors the bill that would more evenly spread K-12 funding by siphoning it off from richer suburban districts, primarily those near St. Louis.
In a voice vote Wednesday, the Senate backed a measure that would allow charter schools to be set up in districts that have been declared unaccredited. It would also allow charter schools in some districts that would have been provisionally accredited for three straight years, starting with next school year.
The Missouri House has passed all 13 bills that make up the state’s $24 billion budget for FY 2013.
The process took longer than expected, because of the large number of Democrats who took issue with cutting funding to blind pensions and for not spending enough on K-12 schools. Sara Lampe (D, Springfield) urged fellow lawmakers to look for other ways to balance the budget besides cutting services.