(AP) – State News Stories

| October 25, 2013
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Normandy won’t pay for student transfers

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The board for one of two unaccredited school districts in St. Louis County has voted not to pay the bill for students who transferred to higher performing districts, putting the district at odds with state law.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Normandy School Board on Thursday rejected paying the most recent tuition and transportation costs for hundreds of students who chose to go elsewhere. The transfers were allowed after a Missouri Supreme Court ruling this summer.

The move means that about $1.3 million will not go to 14 districts where the Normandy students transferred.

The Normandy board also voted to close Bel-Nor Elementary School and lay off 103 employees, mostly teachers, in cost-cutting moves that will save more than $3 million this school year.


Drury eliminates 35 jobs as enrollment dips

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Drury University is eliminating 35 jobs as enrollment dips at the private Springfield school.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that fewer than 10 employees will be laid off. The rest of the jobs will be eliminated through retirements, consolidations and leaving vacancies unfilled.

Drury reached a record enrollment of 5,625 students in 2010. Since then, Drury has experienced an average annual decline in enrollment of 6 percent per year.

President David Manuel said in a news release that the improving economy is leading fewer people to seek graduate degrees and continuing education. The trend is a national one. Manuel also noted that Missouri has seen a 6 percent decline in high school graduates since 2010.


KC superintendent gets a 5-year contract extension

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City school board wants to keep its superintendent around for another five years.

The board decided Thursday to sign Superintendent Steve Green to a new contract paying him $250,000 a year after the district showed improvements. The Kansas City Star reports that the contract would retain Green through June 2018.

The coming years promise to be fraught with challenges. Because the district is unaccredited, it soon could be forced to begin paying to allow its students to transfer to accredited school systems. A legal challenge has been holding up the transfers.

The 59-year-old Green already has worked in the district two years. If he sticks around for all seven years, that would make him an exception. Green is Kansas City’s 20th superintendent in the last 31 years.


Missouri Gov. Nixon touts college study

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Gov. Jay Nixon is touting a report showing tuition increases at Missouri’s four-year public colleges and universities have been smaller than those in other states.

The analysis shows tuition at Missouri schools increased 5 percent in the current academic year from 2008-2009. Tuition increased 8 percent in Maryland and 9 percent in Maine. The largest increase in tuition was 70 percent in Arizona.

The figures were included in the College Board’s 2013 Trends in College Pricing report.

Nixon has said he plans to propose more funding for colleges and universities and student scholarships in next year’s budget.


Police ID worker killed in Mo. trench collapse

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) — Authorities have identified a worker who was killed in a trench collapse at a suburban Kansas City home that was under construction.

Lee’s Summit Police Sgt. Chris Depue said in a news release Friday that the victim is 49-year-old Brian Allen of Windsor. Emergency crews were called at 1:30 p.m. Thursday to the scene where a 75-foot trench had been dug from the street to the house so crews could connect a sewer line.

Depue says the earth shifted in the trench and collapsed on the worker, while a second worker at the top of the trench was not harmed.

Rescue crews tried frantically to dig the victim out before the trench began to collapse again and they shifted to recovery mode.


Police investigate 16 Kirkwood vehicle break-ins

KIRKWOOD, Mo. (AP) — Police in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood are investigation a series of vehicle break-ins.

At least 16 thefts were reported Wednesday in three different areas of the St. Louis County town. Thieves stole from unlocked vehicles in some cases and broke locks in others. Items taken included an iPad, laptop computer, electronics and other items.

Authorities urged residents to not leave valuable items in unattended vehicles.


Litigation over Rally Squirrel continues

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Rally Squirrel hasn’t retired, he’s just caught up in litigation.

When a squirrel bounded through the batter’s box during the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2011 postseason, an array of Rally Squirrel merchandise quickly sprang up.

The rodent and all that he wrought is barely a memory now, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a trademark dispute lingers at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The Cardinals are contesting an application for a federal trademark on the Rally Squirrel for shirts and other memorabilia by suburban St. Louis businessman Phil Rideout, an application filed in October 2011 as the Cardinals were en route to a World Series win.

The Cardinals say in their opposition filing that the Rally Squirrel had become an “integral part” of the team’s identity.


New $15M penguin exhibit opens at Kansas City Zoo

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A new $15 million penguin exhibit is opening its doors at the Kansas City Zoo.

KCTV reports that visitors can see the tuxedo-clad animals starting Friday. More than 40 penguins are housed in the Helzberg Penguin Plaza, and the zoo hopes to add more to the 2,800-square-foot habit in coming years. The flightless birds eat up to 50 pounds of fish per day.

Kansas City Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff says he couldn’t be happier with how the exhibit turned out.

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