Missouri bill could speed up takeover of unaccredited KCPS - KCTV5

Missouri bill could speed up takeover of unaccredited KCPS

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Lawmakers are deciding if the state should be able to take over unaccredited school districts, like Kansas City, without waiting the mandatory two years.

Missouri's lawmakers packed into a Senate lounge along with several dozen of education's top leaders Wednesday afternoon to discuss the proposed bill in committee, who vote next week.

Sen. David Pearce introduced Senate Bill 7, which Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green says leaves no room for improving districts earning their way back.

"What we would like to see is a condition if a district is improving that district be allowed to continue uninterrupted at the same progress without disruption or interruption," Green said.

Pearce believes waiting the mandatory two years is too long.

"I also feel the status quo is not working and the district needs some help and support in a case like that," Pearce said.

Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro wouldn't definitively say whether she would recommend takeover of KCPS if the bill passes next week.

"We have to take into account that school is happening, and we certainly wouldn't do anything to disrupt the smooth operation of the school buildings," Nicastro said.

While the bill is likely to see a full vote in the first quarter, it is still unclear whether it will include a clause that would buy time for improving unaccredited districts.

"Had we stayed flat or had we moved to an even lower on the targeted areas, we would understand the need to pre-empt the window," Green said.  "We think we earned the opportunity to continue."

However, Nicastro didn't necessarily agree.

"I think Dr. Green and his staff are working very hard to try to make improvements. Whether or not they meet our standards is another question," she said.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

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