Parson makes I-70 a focus for Missouri budget heavy on infrastructure, education spending

BY: - January 18, 2023

Gov. Mike Parson wants to spend nearly $1 billion to widen Interstate 70 in congested areas while seeking federal funding to complete the job statewide. In his budget proposal delivered to lawmakers Wednesday, Parson asked for $859 million from the more than $5 billion in surplus general revenue to widen the highway in suburban areas […]

A seven-member committee meets in a wood-paneled room with a two-chair desk in front of it

Critical race theory dominates Missouri Senate committee hearing on education bills

BY: - January 18, 2023

Lawmakers debated critical race theory for two hours Wednesday, as the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee heard public testimony on a pair of bills that both seek to create a so-called “Parents Bill of Rights.” The two bills would establish a statewide transparency portal for public schools and enshrine parental rights, like a right […]

Missouri Republicans renew early focus on parental rights, critical race theory

BY: - January 17, 2023

Parental access to school records – and how history and race are taught in Missouri classrooms – will be among the first topics considered by lawmakers this legislative session. During the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee’s first meeting Wednesday afternoon, committee members will hear testimony on a pair of bills dubbed the “Parents’ Bill […]

A modern office building on a clear day with the words "Lee's Summit R-VII School District" on the tile facade

Lee’s Summit school district’s countersuit against Missouri AG seeks to set a precedent

BY: - January 12, 2023

The Lee’s Summit R-VII School District spent $72,824 last year fighting the Missouri Attorney General’s office. It is the last district standing in an onslaught of civil suits former Attorney General Eric Schmitt brought against school districts who enforced mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly all the lawsuits were dismissed, most at the request […]

Agape Boarding School will close its doors this month after years of abuse allegations

BY: - January 11, 2023

Agape Boarding School, the Stockton-based Christian residential facility under scrutiny for alleged abuse of its students over decades, announced it will shut down Jan. 20. According to a statement provided to The Independent Wednesday afternoon by John Schultz, an attorney for Agape, the school has “made the decision to stop providing services to the boys […]

New federal student loan repayment plan aimed at low-income borrowers

BY: - January 11, 2023

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education unveiled a proposal Tuesday that would overhaul a federal student loan income-driven repayment plan, and, if implemented, could help millions of low-income borrowers. However, it’s unclear how the agency would be able to finance the program. Many student debt relief advocates also criticized the proposal for leaving out […]

Scott Fitzpatrick says COVID relief, school spending will be focus as Missouri auditor

BY: - January 9, 2023

Newly inaugurated State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick said Monday that auditing federal COVID-19 relief funds and how local school districts spend money will be his top priorities during the coming four years. Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Shell Knob in southwest Missouri, was sworn in at noon Monday to replace Nicole Galloway, a Democrat who did not […]

Missouri lawmakers reconvene focused on sports betting, teacher pay, initiative petitions

BY: - January 4, 2023

Before the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 27, GeoComply defeated 82,000 attempts by Missourians to access sports gambling sites. Missouri hasn’t legalized sports wagering, and a gambler must be in a state that has, like Kansas or Illinois, to make a legal bet.  The blocked bets before the Chiefs’ game […]

Alan Pratzel urged education and diversion as Missouri’s chief disciplinary counsel

BY: - December 29, 2022

Most Missourians have never heard of Alan Pratzel or the system he led for 15 years. To lawyers in Missouri, however, Pratzel was often considered the profession’s top cop.  But that’s not how he looked at his role of chief disciplinary counsel, a job focused on making sure the state’s lawyers abided by legal ethics […]

Missouri GOP renews push to limit transgender athlete participation in school sports

BY: - December 27, 2022

There have been more bills prefiled for Missouri’s 2023 legislative session regarding transgender athletes than there are transgender athletes currently competing according to their identity in public schools. Republican lawmakers in both the House and Senate have combined to file 10 bills seeking to restrict the ability of transgender minors to play in youth sports. […]

Another symptom of Missouri teacher shortage: Growing number of 4-day school weeks

BY: - December 19, 2022

Over a quarter of Missouri school districts learn on a four-day schedule. And up until last week, they were small, rural districts – some with as few as 50 students. That changed when Independence School District voted to implement the schedule for its 14,000 students next fall. Missouri policymakers are taking notice, with varying ideas […]

Some states open college savings accounts for every newborn

BY: - December 2, 2022

This story was originally published by Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts. States, cities and community groups that offer free money to families to jump-start college savings face a dilemma: The families most in need often fail to sign up. To solve the problem, some states have transformed the accounts into automatic programs […]