August arrives on Friday and school’s about to start. So it’s time to think about ... voting.
Incongruous as that sounds, it’s true. And these elections are not inconsequential.
Voters across Missouri will be casting ballots on a three-quarter-cent sales tax for transportation projects, including the Broadway Bridge replacement — affecting drivers on both sides of the Missouri River — and the proposed Kansas City streetcar extension.
And south of the river, voters in a large swath of Kansas City will decide whether to form a taxing district to help finance growth of the streetcar system. Whether you live in that district or not, you’re bound to be affected by the outcome.
The “right to farm” issue is another important one, and in these pages, The Star’s Jason Hancock outlines the arguments on both sides.
Voters also have a say in shaping their county governments and deciding who will represent them in the statehouse. In some cases, the outcome will be decisive because no one in the opposing party has filed.
Inside this issue, you will find coverage of the candidates and ballot issues. So there’s no excuse not to add another exercise to your summertime routine.
Exercise your right to vote.
Winners of Missouri’s School Breakfast Challenge were announced during the Department’s School Administrators Conference Monday in Columbia.
The School Breakfast Challenge, a joint partnership between the Department, the Missouri Food Bank Association and the Midwest Dairy Council, aims to increase daily breakfast participation in school districts across the state. All Missouri public, charter and private school districts participating in the national school lunch program were automatically entered in the challenge and were categorized into one of five tiers based on district enrollment.
Winners are the top three schools in each tier that had the largest increase in breakfast meals served per student from the 2012-13 school year to the 2013-14 school year.
The 2013-14 winners are:
Tier I (10,000 + students)
- Gold Award – Francis Howell R-III School District, $3,000
- Silver Award – Lee’s Summit R-VII School District, $2,000
- Bronze Award – Independence School District, $1,000
Tier 2 (3,500-9,999 students)
- Gold Award – Sedalia School District, $3,000
- Silver Award – Northwest R-I School District, $2,000
- Bronze Award – Lindbergh School District, $1,000
Tier 3 (1,000-3,499 students)
- Gold Award – East Prairie R-II School District, $3,000
- Silver Award – Kennett School District, $2,000
- Bronze Award – Aurora R-VIII School District, $1,000
Tier 4 (500-999 students)
- Gold Award – Osceola School District, $3,000
- Silver Award – New Bloomfield R-III School District, $2,000
- Bronze Award – Gallatin R-V School District, $1,000
Tier 5 (Up to 500 students)
- Gold Award – River Roads Lutheran, $3,000
- Silver Award – Living Faith Christian Academy, $2,000
- Bronze Award – Avenue City R-IX School District, $1,000
"I would like to congratulate the winners of this year's School Breakfast Challenge," said Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro. "Research shows a healthy breakfast can have a strong impact on student success in the classroom. We are grateful for districts around the state that make sure students have the option to eat a healthy school breakfast to better prepare them for the day.”
Many districts are going to greater lengths to make breakfast available. The Francis Howell School District recently expanded its breakfast program in its elementary schools. Only two elementary schools offered breakfast at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year. Breakfast is now served at all 10 of its elementary schools.
“Because it was working so well, we wanted to expand it to all the rest of the schools,” said Mike Sloan, director of purchasing for Francis Howell.
Francis Howell principals completed a survey and were overwhelmingly in favor of adding breakfast.
To better accommodate students, the district created the “grab-and-go” system. Students were allowed to take breakfast from carts directly into their classrooms. This allowed better access to breakfast for all students.
Challenge winners will receive cash prizes for their efforts. Awards are based on five different enrollment categories. The top winner in each category will receive $3,000, second place will receive $2,000 and third place will receive $1,000. The money is recommended to be used toward health and wellness activities to benefit the receiving school district.
“Studies continue to show a healthy breakfast improves students’ wellness and their ability to do well in school,” said Courtney Corbett of Midwest Dairy Council. “We hope that our efforts to promote breakfast in schools continue to make a difference.”
This was the second year of the School Breakfast Challenge. For more information, please visit http://dese.mo.gov/financial-admin-services/food-nutrition-services/school-breakfast-challenge.