Effort speeds up for Kansas City School District takeover - KCTV5

Effort to speed up Kansas City School District takeover moves ahead

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A Missouri Senate committee passed a bill this week that would allow the state education agency to take over struggling districts sooner.

If the House passes the bill and Gov. Jay Nixon signs it, the state could take over the Kansas City School District and other unaccredited districts sooner. Under current law, the Kansas City district and other unaccredited districts have at least two years to improve academic performance and avoid a takeover.

Kansas City Public School District Superintendent Stephen Green asked lawmakers not to authorize an immediate takeover of districts showing progress.

His request fell on deaf ears from most lawmakers on the committee.

Sen. Jason Holsman, a Democrat from Kansas City, said the district has had more than enough time.

"The circumstances with KCMSD have ... arrived at the place where intervention is likely necessary," Holsman said.

Fellow Kansas City Democrat Kiki Curls said Green's request and the district's data should be taken into consideration.

"It's a very emotional decision for those back home as well as for legislators," Curls said. "It's a very difficult decision. It's something that requires a lot of time and energy and emotion even for us legislators as well."

The full Senate could vote in a matter of weeks. A House vote would likely follow. Separate political quarrels tied up the bill in last session even though many lawmakers supported it.

"If I had my way, this would've happened last spring," said Sen. David Pearce, a Republican from Warrensburg. "To me, we've already wasted eight months."

Pearce said he applauds the district's efforts to avoid a state takeover and boost performance, but he said ultimately the district "has had enough time."

"But why wait? How much time do you give the KCMSD? I think a lot of my colleagues (agree) it's time to step in and make some tough, bold decisions," he said. "There's too many students' future that depend on this. We need to get it moving."

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