Monday, January 31, 2011

Grandview, Hickman Mills Schools Closed Feb. 1

Grandview C-4 Schools and Hickman Mills C-1 Schools are CLOSED for inclement weather on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 1. Make sure to check district web sites for future closings. Scroll down this page for links on the right.

Grandview Declares Snow Emergency

Because of the heavy snow and/or ice expected tonight and tomorrow throughout the day, the City of Grandview has declared a snow emergency today for the period January 31 through February 3 this week.  In accordance with the Grandview City Code, Section 14.6.1, the City may call a traffic snow emergency based on falling snow, sleet or freezing rain, or on the basis of a weather bureau forecast for severe weather and hazardous or dangerous driving conditions.
With the declaration of a snow emergency, police are authorized to remove or have removed any vehicle from the streets or rights-of-way when the vehicle:
(1)    Is determined to be parked on an emergency snow route during a declared traffic snow emergency.
(2)    Is stalled on an emergency snow route, and the driver does not appear to be effectively removing it.
(3)    Is parked in violation of any parking ordinance or any other provision of law and is interfering with snow removal operations on said street.
Click here to see the designated  emergency snow routes.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

KC Mayor & Council Filing Ends

Filing ended Tuesday for candidates wishing to help lead Kansas City for the next few years.

As of press time, Kansas City voters have several mayoral candidates to choose from on February 22nd:Current 1st District At-Large Councilwoman Deb Hermann, former KC Councilman and PIAC Chairman Mike Burke, Kansas City lawyer Sylvester “Sly” James, local businessman and Habitat for Humanity board member Henry Klein, former 4th District Councilman Jim Rowland, and current Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser. Former Mayor Charlie Wheeler was also looking to run.

The two candidates with the most votes in the primary will go on to the general election in March.

Kansas City residents who have questions about their poll place or voter status should contact the Kansas City Election Board at (816) 842-4820.
The complete list of candidates is as follows:

Kansas City Mayor
Deb Hermann
Mike Burke
Sylvester “Sly” James
Henry Klein
James “Jim” Rowland
Mark Funkhouser
Charles Wheeler

1st District At Large
Scott Wagner
Daina Kennedy

1st District
Richard F. Davis

2nd District At Large
Ed Ford
Allen Dillingham

2nd District
Russ Johnson
Robert A. Benefield

3rd District At Large
Melba Curls
Brandon Ellington
Durwin Rice
Carol J. Gatlin

3rd District
Michael Fletcher
Jermaine Reed
Sharon Sanders Brooks

4th District At Large
John Crawford
Anne McGregor
Edward Pace
Jim Glover
Annie Presley

4th District
Jan Marcason
Mona Lyne

5th District At Large
Cindy Circo
Richard “Charlie” Angel
Mahlon Davis Jr.

5th District
Kenneth T. Bacchus
W. Ruth Turner
Michael Brooks
Ron Dean Birmingham

6th District At Large
Michael R. Brown
Scott Taylor
Ricky Earl Abel
Tracy Ward
Chuck Eddy
Edward Fields
Delmira Quarles
MD Rabbi Alam

6th District
Terrence Nash
John A. Sharp
Adnan Bayazid

C-4 Puts $7 million Bond on Ballot

By Paul Thompson
A $7 million bond for upkeep of Grandview C-4 District school buildings will officially be placed on the April 5 voting ballot.

The C-4 Board of Education decided in their regularly scheduled January 20th meeting to proceed with the discussed no-tax increase bond, approving it's placement on the ballot with a unanimous vote.

Board President Ann Fisher supported placing the bond on the ballot, especially considering that it requires no tax increase.

"It's not just a no-tax increase but a no levy increase as well," noted Fisher.

If approved, $1million will be allocated for parking lot upgrades. Grandview High School would receive $300,000 for new windows, $485,000 for unit ventilators, and $75,000 to install brick or stone in the front fa├žade. At Grandview Middle School, the entire Heating/Cooling system would be replaced at an estimated cost of $2.4 million. At Belvidere and Butcher-Greene, unit ventilators would be installed for $490,000.

An additional $750,000 would be used annually over three years for repairs and building needs district-wide.

The Board also authorized Grandview C-4 administrators to submit an application to Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the Quality Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) program, which allows for schools to get 0% interest loans from the federal government. The district will try to secure QZAB's help to save over $4 million of interest on the bond.

Board member Allen Meyer noted that the Grandview Chamber of Commerce had already expressed their support of the bond during a meeting earlier in the day.

"I was pleased today when the chamber went ahead and supported us on the bond initiative," said Meyer.

The school board's decision to proceed with placement of the bond means that the issue will now go directly to the voters.

The bond will need 57% of the votes to pass through the April ballot.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

‘Pancakes’ Drops Suit Against ‘Prayer’

By Andrea Wood
The International House of Pancakes and the International House of Prayer may have found a way to co-exist.
Last September, the International House of Pancakes, based in California, filed a lawsuit against the religious organization, based in South Kansas City and Grandview, for trademark infringement over the use of the ‘IHOP’ acronym.
The suit has now been voluntarily dropped by the restaurant chain. The notice of dismissal filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles states that the two sides are having “ongoing mediation discussions.”
“We are aware that the House of Pancakes has recently dropped the suit but we have no further comment on the issue at this time,” said Venetia Carpenter, IHOP KC Community Relations Director.
For more than 10 years, the two organizations have both used the acronym ‘IHOP.’ Last fall, the restaurant chain asked a federal court to stop the International House of Prayer religious organization from using the abbreviation.
The restaurant chain, which first opened in 1958, said that it has been operating under the name IHOP for 30 years, and claimed that the International House of Prayer (which also goes by IHOP-KC) was diluting their famous trademark.
The lawsuit states that IHOP-KC “selected and adopted the International House of Prayer name, knowing it would be abbreviated IHOP. IHOP-KC intended to misappropriate the fame and notoriety of the household name IHOP to help promote and make recognizable their religious organization.”
The lawsuit also says that the use of the abbreviation IHOP by both organizations confuses the public.
The International House of Prayer Missions Base was founded by Mike Bickle in 1999 as a place where Christian missionaries could pray 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The organization says it got its name from the Bible- -Isaiah 56:7 uses the phrase “house of prayer” twice.
IHOP-KC has expanded greatly since 1999. The organization has plans to build a world headquarters in Grandview, across 71 Highway from Truman Corners.
In the meantime, the organization has redeveloped Grandview Plaza Shopping Center into its IHOP University campus, which opened this summer following extensive interior renovations. 
Exterior plans are underway at the center.
“The front facade renovation should be completed by the end of January with the exception of some exterior painting that will be done when the weather warms up March/April,” Carpenter said. “The parking lot improvements (landscaping and redesign)  will also be done early summer. In addition, the final interior renovations will begin in March and should be completed by August 1 2011 in time for the opening of  the next school year.”

Thursday, January 6, 2011

State, Board Discuss C-1 School District Accreditation

By Mary Kay Morrow
The Hickman Mills C-1 School District is being given another year before its accreditation status is officially decided by the Missouri Board of Education.
Tony Stansberry, a Supervisor for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), told the Hickman Mills C-1 School Board on December 16 that the extra year will give the district and state time to implement its Accountability Plan and continue making progress.
“If we were to go to the state board now with your APR – seven standards met - you would be in the provisional category,” Stansberry said.  “But I’ve gotta tell you, it’s all about kids, and as long as we feel progress is being made to help them achieve, we’re going to work with you. We know you can’t turn around a school district in 15 months. You’re not there yet, but you’re making some progress.”
School Superintendent Dr. Marge Williams invited Stansberry so administrators and the board could hear directly from the DESE Supervisor on the district’s Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) progress and its accreditation status. 
Accreditation decisions are made based primarily on an Annual Performance Review (APR) that is part of MSIP. To be fully accredited, a school district must meet at least nine of 14 APR standards.  To be provisionally accredited, schools must meet at least six.  A district that meets five or fewer standards may be classified as unaccredited.
“When we started off last year, you’d only achieved six (of 14) standards and you’d achieved none of the MAP (Missouri Assessment Program) standards,” Stansberry told the school board.  “This year you moved from six to seven standards.  That also means you moved from ‘unaccredited’ to ‘provisional’ this year. You weren’t there before.  That’s a plus.
“You’ve also increased in the MAP area.  That allowed you to achieve what’s called the Bonus MAP Achievement Standard because you exceeded your scores from the previous year.
“You also achieved a couple of GAP points which means that your ‘free and reduced lunch’ students and/or your minority students exceeded the state majority in the score improvements made.”
Due to a change in cycle timing and a number of other progress factors, DESE is going to wait a year before taking a recommendation to the Missouri Board of Education regarding Hickman’s accreditation. Normally, accreditation decisions would have been made at the end of the fourth cycle - that was supposed to have been this year. A change in the timing of the MSIP review cycles moved the fifth cycle into next year.
“The plan at DESE is to give you this school year to continue the work that you’ve started and you probably will go before the state board in November of next year,” Stansberry said. “We decided the districts that had had the full reviews and shown that they were making progress, we would work with them some more before going to the state board of education with [an accreditation] recommendation.”
When APR report cards came out last October, Dr. Williams predicted that with changes being made in the district, Hickman Mills would be able to bump its APR score up from seven points this year to 11 next year – well within the accredited range.
“Where other districts are picking up points is in the areas of academics like math and communication arts,” Dr. Williams said at that time.  “We’re moving, and when we receive our points in those content areas, I believe we will have at least 11 points.”
Stansberry said he believes the rubber meets the road in the classroom and is willing to pull for districts that show a willingness to work hard and show progress.
“What I’ve seen in this effort that we’ve made here with your [Accountability] Plan is that you have some focus,” Stansberry said.  “Overall, consistently, we’ve seen improvement.”
DESE feels Hickman has a relevant plan and has shown good progress during quarterly reviews towards implementing it over the past 15 months.
“You’ve worked very hard to put together an Accountability Plan, implemented the plan, adjusted where needed along the way, and took the process seriously,” Stansberry said.
Stansberry said the state looks at things and says, ‘You know, things aren’t where we want them to be yet in the school district, but the district took the review seriously, and they followed up in a fashion that showed us that there was substantial progress being made.’
In closing, Stansberry congratulated the district for the positive work done and challenged the district to keep going to achieve some additional performance standards.  Noting the C-1’s proud heritage Stansberry encouraged the Hickman community to “keep up the good work.”

Candidates File for Mayor, Council, School Boards

By Andrea Wood

Candidates continue to add their names to the ballot to be considered for several locally- elected positions. Grandview and Kansas City residents will be electing new mayors and city council members, while Hickman Mills C-1 and Grandview C-4 school district patrons will select school board members.
There is also a State Senator seat open due to the resignation of Yvonne Wilson. Candimust file with the Secretary of State by January 15th.
If you have ever considered serving as a public official, you still have time to do so. Filing will continue for the two school boards and the City of Grandview until January 18th. Kansas City residents have until January 25th to do so.

In Kansas City, as of press time, four residents had filed for the mayor’s seat: Councilmember Deb Hermann, Mike Burke, Sylvester “Sly” James and Henry Klein. Current Mayor Mark Funkhouser has
launched his re-election campaign as well.
 The term of office is four years. Anticipated starting annual salary for Kansas City’s Mayor is $128,082.
For KC City Council, there are two types of seats: a regular councilmember who lives in the district and is elected only by voters in that district, and an at-large councilmember who lives in the district but is elected by all Kansas City voters.
As of press time, 6th District Councilman John Sharp had filed for re-election, and Terrence Nash had filed as well.
Current 6th District At-Large Councilmember Cathy Jolly announced this fall that she would not run for re-election. Those who have filed to fill the seat as of press time include current 50th District State Representative Michael Brown, as well as Delmira Quarles and Center School Board Vice-President Scott Taylor—Jolly’s husband.
The term of office is four years, and starting annual salary is anticipated at $64,032.
The primary election for these seats will be held on February 22, 2011. The two candidates who received the most votes per seat will then go on to the general election on March 22, 2011. Those elected will officially fill their positions as of May 1, 2011.
For a complete list of candidates and qualifications, see the city clerk’s webpage at:

Grandview residents will be electing a new Mayor, Judge, and Aldermen from each of the city’s three Wards in April.
At press time, there are two candidates for mayor, Alderman Steve Dennis and Alderman Leonard Jones.
Those wishing to run for mayor must be at least 25 years of age; a U.S. citizen; a resident of Grandview at the time of and at least 1 year before election; a registered voter and must be current on all City taxes and fees, including business licenses and personal and real property taxes, before the close of filing for office.
For the Aldermen seats, Brent Steeno has filed for Ward I; Joe Runions has filed for re-election in Ward II; and current Alderman Tony Preyer has two challengers, Cornelius Blow and Traci Marshall, for Ward III.
Candidates must be at least 21 years of age; a U.S. citizen; a resident of the ward from which elected;  Must be resident of Grandview at least 1 year before election; a registered voter; and be current on all City taxes and fees, including business licenses and personal and real property taxes, before the close of filing for office.
For Municipal Judge, Donald Crow has filed fore re-election.
For more information, see and click on City Clerk or call 816-316-4800.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon issued a Writ of Election to fill the vacancy in the office of State Senate,  District 9. This vacancy was created by the resignation of Senator Yvonne Wilson.  Candidates nominated by the political parties or by petition must file their declaration of candidacy with the Secretary of State by 5:00 p.m. on January 15, 2011 for the special election to be held on Tuesday, February 22, 2011.
Candidates who have filed so far include Shalonn (Kiki) Curls (Democrat) and Nola Wood (Republican).
Candidates for State Senate must be at least 30 years of age; a qualified Missouri voter for three years before election; and a resident of the district which he is chosen to represent for 1 year before election.

On the Grandview school board, three 3-year term positions are up for election.
Allen Meyer, Amber Woodrome and Elliott Threatt’s seats are up for re-election. As of press time, Woodrome had filed as a candidate.  Also filing as a candidate as of press time are Barbara Polette, Ron E. Haley, and Meagan Jackson.
Candidates must at least be 24 years old; a U.S. citizen, resident tax payer of the school district, and will have resided in Missouri for at least one year from the election date.  For more info and full qualifications, call 316-5000.

The Hickman Mills school board has three 3-year term positions up for election.
Current school board members Breman Anderson, Debbie Aiman and Bonnaye Mims have all filed for re-election. In addition, two other candidates have filed--Dan Osman and Shawn Kirkwood.
Candidates must at least be 24 years old; a U.S. citizen, resident tax payer of the school district, and will have resided in Missouri for at least one year from the election date.  For more info and full qualifications, call 316-7000.

Two seats are up for election on the Jackson County Public Water Supply District #1 Board of Directors--one from Subdistrict No. 1 and one from Subdistrict No. 3.
Subdistrict No. 1 is described as follows: The West boundary of the District and 119th Street;  East along 119th Street, to the East boundary of the District; South along the East boundary of the District to High Grove Road; West along High Grove Road to 71 Hwy;  North along U.S. 71 to Main Street and West along Main Street to the West boundary of the District.
Subdistrict No. 3 is described as follows: The West boundary of the District and Main Street; East along Main Street to 71 Hwy; South along 71 to 139th Street; West along 139th Street to the West boundary of the District; North along West boundary.
Candidates must be at least 25 years old, and a resident within the District for one year prior to election.
For more information and full qualifications, call (816) 761-5421.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Trial Date Set for Grandview C-4 & Teacher's Union

Case could impact Hickman Mills and others

By Paul Thompson & Mary Kay Morrow
The Grandview C-4 and Hickman Mills C-1 School Districts have been battling their teachers associations over collective bargaining rights. Now, the Grandview National Education Association (GNEA) is taking their case to court. A trial has been set for May of 2011, and the implications could reach into Hickman Mills and other school districts as well.
Teachers in the C-4 district currently solve bargaining issues through the Grandview 10, a panel of teachers and administrators that work together to solve any teacher association issues and concerns. But according to current GNEA president Rebeka McIntyre, there is still a major flaw with the Grandview 10. 
"The Grandview 10 decisions are simply a collection of agreements," McIntyre said. "The problem with that, the flaw, is that it is not a legally binding document."
That means that decisions and agreements made within the Grandview 10 hold no actual contractual weight and can be altered at the district's will. The GNEA cites a 2005 Supreme Court ruling to defend its stance that their teacher's association agreement needed to be contractual. The ruling stated that "teachers had the right to bargain collectively through a representative of their own choosing to reach a binding contract," according to McIntyre.
While that decision gave teachers the right to bargain collectively, there was still no law in place to enforce it. So GNEA and other associations have been mired in a sort of no-man's-land ever since. 
"It's hard to know what the Supreme Court ruling means and what the ramifications of it are, at least for the majority of school boards in Missouri," said C-4 Superintendant Dr. Ralph Teran.
The Grandview Board of Education adopted a policy know as Policy HH to deal with negotiations in the meantime.
"HH is the recommended policy from the Missouri School Boards Association," said Teran about the board's decision to adhere to Policy HH. "I don't think there is any deviation from their wording."
"The Springfield School District went through, about a year-year and a half ago, about the same thing we're going through now," Teran continued. "They didn't find that the policy was wrong." 
McIntyre argues that the policy only serves to disenfranchise the Grandview 10, and keep teachers from getting the solid representation that they deserve.
"At the end of last year, the district adopted policy HH, which is a teacher's negotiating policy," McIntyre said. "Policy HH undercuts the decision that says you can bargain. It allows for the possibility of multiple representatives instead of just exclusive representatives."
McIntyre said that C-4 District attorney Duane Martin at one point actually crafted a policy that the GNEA approved of, but that policy didn't stick.
"The first reading of Martin's policy was approved (by the Grandview school board). Several months later they rescinded the approval and adopted HH," McIntyre said.
Teran acknowledged that this was the case, explaining that the board went with Martin's original policy first, but that they changed their minds because the original policy called for exclusive representation. Grandview teachers had previously used two unions--GNEA and the Grandview Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA) --until this fall, when teachers voted to have exclusive representation, and to give that job to GNEA.
The Grandview 10 had included 1 MSTA representative and 4 from GNEA--based on the proportional number of teachers each represented in the district. Now, the Grandview 10 does not include an MSTA representative for the first time since the 1980s.
 With their case now set to go to trial, GNEA is pushing for swift action to be made. Grandview's litigation is likely to be an intriguing case to other districts facing similar collective bargaining issues.
"The same conversations are happening in Hickman, in Belton, in Ray-Pec," McIntyre said about the case. "If we can play a role in making better policy, that's good for everybody. Ultimately, we have 333 teachers in the bargaining unit who need a good binding contract."
Hickman Mills is only a couple of steps behind the Grandview School District, as their teachers association is mired in a similar battle.  At a recent Hickman Mills School Board meeting, a spokesperson from the Missouri National Education Association echoed the call for bargaining rights. MNEA President for Hickman Mills Teresa Ambler asked the board to consider a collective bargaining agreement for teachers.  
Ambler's group is awaiting a response to a letter sent to the board several weeks ago asking for exclusive representation for teachers to initiate a collective bargaining contract for Hickman Mills teachers. Ambler would like to see more teeth put into agreements reached between the administration and teacher representatives during the district's current once-a-month process known as "meet and confer."
While the "meet and confer" process provides an opportunity for teachers and administrators to reach agreement on issues, just like in Grandview it does not represent a binding agreement.  The district may adopt, change, or reject agreed-upon provisions reached during "meet and confer" negotiations.
 She gave the example of class size equity to explain the importance of collective bargaining.  Ambler doesn't understand why some teachers are overloaded, while others teaching the same subject, at the same grade level, in the same building, have smaller class sizes.
"If we go into a collective bargaining contract, it will enable us to say, 'All classroom teachers would have maybe a minimum of 20 students and a maximum of 25' and we would ensure there was (class size) equity in all teaching subjects."
McIntyre echoed Ambler's sentiments.
"Do we have a voice in curriculum? Who's tutoring our students? It comes down to much more than the paycheck," said McIntyre about some of her concerns regarding bargaining. In fact, she says that money is a non-factor in the litigation. Grandview teachers already have salaries and amount of days worked locked in under contract. It really comes down to better working conditions for their teachers, and in turn, C-4 students.
McIntyre says the GNEA needed to take action to make sure that those teachers and students weren't negatively affected by bad policy.
"It's a bad policy, and GNEA filed suit to keep the policy from being spread. It's a bad policy for teachers, so it's a bad policy for kids."