State issues guidelines for absorbing KCPS student transfers - KCTV5 News

State issues guidelines for absorbing KCPS student transfers

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Parents in the Kansas City Public School District have about a month and a half to transfer their children out of the unaccredited district.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said it will help districts make smooth transitions for students who want to leave an unaccredited school district.

Five school districts in the Kansas City metro area said accepting students from KCPS is considered accepting a student they don't have the funds to pay for - an unfunded mandate.

But a Missouri Supreme Court ruling last week in a similar case, Breitenfeld v. School District of Clayton, overturned that argument, stating school districts can no longer refuse to accept students who want to transfer from an unaccredited district to an accredited one based on that reason.

It was a ruling that prompted Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, or DESE, to release some guidelines for districts to follow.

It includes tips such as informing parents that, for the 2013-2014 school year, parents should notify both districts by Aug. 1 if they want to transfer. The tips go on to say that the sending district must provide transportation to at least one receiving school district. If the parent doesn't want that school, the parent is responsible for the child's transportation. Also, if the district regains accreditation during the school year, students should be allowed to finish the school year at that school.

Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green of the Kansas City, MO, School District said the guidelines are helpful, but his main goal is for the district to regain accreditation.

"We are making a strong case for provisional accreditation status come this August, maybe sooner than that. When the scores come out we are very optimistic given predictive assessments," he said.

He said transferring may not be an issue if and when his district regains their accreditation.

"We improved in four of the five areas and substantially on two of those areas," Green said.

Green said enrollment has increased by 300 to 400 students this year. Of the 16,000-plus students in his district, less than 50 have asked for a transfer, according to the superintendent.

"If they go for one year and then they have to come back, I don't know if a lot of careful thought has gone into the implications of what that will mean for a family," he said.

The ruling also said "an unaccredited school districts shall pay the tuition for students to attend a school in another accredited district of the same or an adjoining county."

School district officials said they have been paying for students who wish to transfer and they've been paying the amount funded by the state, but it is up to surrounding counties to accept those students or not.

So far none of the students have successfully been able to move to either of the five districts; Raytown, Blue Springs, Independence, Center or North Kansas City school districts due to a pending lawsuit filed by the districts to block transfers until funding for those students can be settled.

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