Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Over the past several months, officials at Missouri State University have been working to raise money for the Dr. Alice Bartee Endowment. As KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann reports, thanks to the contributions of many, and a recent gift of $25,000, the project is off to a great start.

Few professors carry a legacy like Dr. Alice Bartee.  She was the first woman at Missouri State to receive full professorship. Those who knew her best, or were one of her students, considered her a mentor, an advocate and a pioneer. 

For many college students across the country, today marks the beginning of a new chapter as they get situated in their new living quarters, meet their roommate for the first time, and prepare to be away from home. KSMU’s Scott Harvey has reaction from the Missouri State University campus. 

“Well I just got here, and it’s really busy and I’m really nervous.”

This is Shannon, who at this point had yet to meet her new roommate or see the inside of her bedroom.

“I wanna meet new friends. I have to try and get myself out there,” Shannon says.

More than 23,000 students throughout the Missouri State University System are expected to converge on campus next week for the start of fall classes. The total figure is projected to top enrollment from this time a year ago, according to President Clif Smart.

“On the Friday before classes to a year ago the Friday before classes we’re up in every category. We’re up in freshmen, we’re up in transfer students, we’re up in graduate students, we’re up in students of color, we’re up in international students,” Smart said.

Doors reopen in the Ozarks this week at several schools as the new school year is set to begin. KSMU’s Scott Harvey profiles what a couple of districts have in store for returning students.

At Nixa High School Monday, where the new school year kicks off Tuesday, officials formally unveiled its new classroom wing, part of a $9 million bond measure approved by voters which also included a new wing at the junior high.

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) Friday touted the recently-approved Senate solution to student loan interest rates during stops in Springfield and Hollister. KSMU’s Scott Harvey has more.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

State entities are adjusting their budgets for the 2014 fiscal year after Gov. Jay Nixon’s recent decision to restrict millions in funding. Despite vetoing HB 253 in June, the Democratic Governor cited cost concerns of the bill, which could be overridden by lawmakers during their September veto session.

On a pleasant June afternoon, 27-year-old Jason Harmon is walking his dog George on the sidewalks of Missouri State University in Springfield. At home, this yellow Lab plays the role of pet for him, his wife and two young sons. But on campus, donning what Harmon calls George’s work jacket that reads “working dog, do not pet,” this service dog is ready and willing to protect, guide and inspire Harmon while in the classroom and amongst society.

Saying a key provision of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down Section 4, which establishes a coverage formula to identify states that may require extra scrutiny regarding voting procedures. As KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports, the decision essentially shifts the focus back onto Congress to find a solution.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

Before embarking upon his annual manufacturing trip throughout southwest Missouri, Congressman Billy Long Tuesday visited with business leaders in Springfield, where he applauded efforts to enhance economic growth. KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports.   

Scott Harvey / KSMU

It’s the first time in five years that the Missouri General Assembly has increased funding appropriations for Missouri State University. As KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports, the additional $25 million lawmakers set aside for higher education, which still awaits the signature of Gov. Nixon, means an additional $2.4 million for MSU.

There are more than 60 facilities in the Springfield Public Schools' system, with the average age of those buildings 48 years. So every little bit helps when it comes to updating existing infrastructure. On Monday, school administrators applauded the recent donation of a local church for safety and security upgrades. KSMU’s Scott Harvey was there. 

Months after thousands of dollars in missing funds were discovered and then a subsequent investigation found even more stolen from the Missouri State University Bookstore, a number of corrective actions have been taken to avoid a similar occurrence. KSMU’s Scott Harvey spoke with MSU President Clif Smart and has this story.

In an active shooter situation, one person is killed an estimated every 15 seconds. And data shows that during a lockdown, instructing students to get under their desks or huddle toward the back of the classroom isn’t the safest way. On Thursday, students at Drury University in Springfield were introduced to the “Run, Hide, and Fight” strategy. KSMU’s Scott Harvey was there.

[Sound: Air horn]

Those are simulated gun shots.

[Sound: Mock intruder enters classroom]

It was a nail biting finish to the Drury University and Metro State National Championship game Sunday. KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

With severe weather season on the horizon, education administrators are among the officials analyzing current procedures ahead of any potential storms.

At Missouri State University, those who sign up for the school’s notification system will be alerted of, among other things, inclement weather which could affect university operations. The practice is not uncommon these days, with smartphones offering immediate and advanced notifications.