Information about Kansas City Public Schools loss of accreditation and its impact on Lee’s Summit R-7 schools

Information about this issue is provided within the following press releases:

January 28, 2014, Press Release
December 12, 2013, Press Release
June 12, 2013, Press Release
August 17, 2012, Press Release
August 10, 2012, Press Release
June 18, 2012, Press Release
Jan. 10, 2012, Press Release
Dec. 31, 2011, Press Release
Dec. 26, 2011, Press Release

Missouri Supreme Court rules in student transfer lawsuit
State statute challenged by Lee’s Summit R-7 and other area districts

On Dec. 10, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a state statute that permits students residing in unaccredited school districts to transfer to accredited schools in the same county or in an adjoining county. The court’s decision was in response to a lawsuit filed by the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District as well as the Blue Springs, Independence, North Kansas City and Raytown school districts.

Several days after the Missouri Supreme Court ruling, Kansas City Public Schools filed a lawsuit against the Missouri Board of Education and the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education seeking to change the district’s status to provisionally accredited. If Kansas City Public Schools were to become provisionally accredited, the student-transfer law would no longer apply.

Kansas City Public Schools lost its accreditation in January 2012. According to state law and fall 2013 guidance from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, students from the Kansas City district would be eligible to transfer to any accredited school district in Jackson County and adjoining counties during the 2014-15 school year.

Taxpayers from Lee’s Summit R-7 and the other area districts involved in the lawsuit claimed that the state statute is unconstitutional because it causes taxpayers to bear the additional costs of educating a significant number of out-of-district students, which violates the Missouri Constitution’s Hancock Amendment. The Hancock Amendment prohibits the state from imposing new activities on political subdivisions without providing full state funding for costs.

Although the state admitted that it has provided no funding whatsoever to cover the costs associated with student transfers, the Supreme Court did not rule on the issue of whether the state has provided adequate funding. Rather, the court ruled that the statute does not impose any new activities on the Kansas City area school districts because these districts were always required to educate students.

“While we are disappointed by the court’s decision and continue to believe that this state law amounts to an unfunded mandate for our taxpayers, our school district will make all reasonable efforts to comply with the court’s ruling,” said Dr. David McGehee, R-7 superintendent. “At the same time, we also have an obligation to our resident students and our taxpayers.”

Dr. McGehee, working with superintendents from throughout Missouri, was recently involved in development of a plan that serves as a feasible and constructive alternative to transferring students from unaccredited districts to accredited districts. Known as the New Path to Excellence, this plan has been presented to state legislators, superintendents from across the state and Missouri Board of Education members.

“The New Path to Excellence ensures that every student in Missouri has the opportunity to attend an accredited school,” Dr. McGehee added. “The plan includes early interventions, accreditation granted by individual schools instead of to a district as a whole and the opportunity for students to transfer to accredited schools within their own district.”

The New Path to Excellence has been endorsed by the Missouri Association of School Administrators as a proposal that provides long-term support for students, schools and communities – as opposed to the punitive and financially unsustainable measures currently required under the student transfer statute.

“Transferring some students out of an unaccredited district will not lead to improvement but rather rips away at any opportunity for the unaccredited district to improve,” Dr. McGehee said. “As we’ve seen this year in the St. Louis area, the current transfer requirements are literally bankrupting school districts and negatively impacting the communities served by the unaccredited districts.”

The state statute requires that the unaccredited district pay tuition to the accredited district that receives its students as well as all transportation costs associated with the transfer. The unaccredited district may designate the district or districts for transportation funding. St. Louis area unaccredited districts involved in the transfer process on the state’s east side have struggled to meet these financial obligations and while also serving the students who remain in their districts.

Education leaders across Missouri, joined by the Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education and administration, are continuing to also urge state legislators to help provide the legal foundation for the New Path to Excellence plan and to clarify and improve the current school transfer law.

Posted: 1/28/14

Missouri Supreme Court rules in student transfer lawsuit
State statute challenged by Lee’s Summit R-7 and other area districts

The Missouri Supreme Court’s Dec. 10 decision upholds a state statute that permits students residing in unaccredited school districts to transfer to accredited schools in the same county or in an adjoining county. The court’s decision was in response to a lawsuit filed by the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District as well as the Blue Springs, Independence, North Kansas City and Raytown school districts.

Kansas City Public Schools lost its accreditation in January 2012. According to state law and guidance from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, students from the Kansas City district will be eligible to transfer to any accredited school district in Jackson County and adjoining counties during the 2014-15 school year.

Taxpayers from Lee’s Summit R-7 and the other area districts involved in the lawsuit claimed that the state statute (Missouri RSMo § 167.131) is unconstitutional because it causes taxpayers to bear the additional costs of educating a significant number of out-of-district students, which violates the Missouri Constitution’s Hancock Amendment. The Hancock Amendment prohibits the state from imposing new activities on political subdivisions without providing full state funding for costs.

Although the state admitted that it has provided no funding whatsoever to cover the costs associated with student transfers, the Supreme Court did not rule on the issue of whether the state has provided adequate funding. Rather, the court ruled that the statute does not impose any new activities on the Kansas City area school districts because these districts were always required to educate students.

“While we are disappointed by the court’s decision and continue to believe that this state law amounts to an unfunded mandate for our taxpayers, our school district will make all reasonable efforts to comply with the court’s ruling,” said Dr. David McGehee, Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent. “At the same time, we also have an obligation to our resident students and our taxpayers.”

Dr. McGehee, working with superintendents from throughout Missouri, was recently involved in development of a plan that serves as a feasible and constructive alternative to transferring students from unaccredited districts to accredited districts. Known as the New Path to Excellence, this plan has been presented to state legislators, superintendents from across the state and Missouri Board of Education members.

“The New Path to Excellence ensures that every student in Missouri has the opportunity to attend an accredited school,” Dr. McGehee added. “The plan includes early interventions, accreditation granted by individual schools instead of to a district as a whole and the opportunity for students to transfer to accredited schools within their own district.”

The New Path to Excellence has been endorsed by the Missouri Association of School Administrators as a proposal that provides long-term support for students, schools and communities – as opposed to the punitive and financially unsustainable measures currently required under the student transfer statute.

“Transferring some students out of an unaccredited district will not lead to improvement but rather rips away at any opportunity for the unaccredited district to improve,” Dr. McGehee said. “As we’ve seen this year in the St. Louis area, the current transfer requirements are literally bankrupting school districts and negatively impacting the communities served by the unaccredited districts.”

The state statute requires that the unaccredited district pay tuition to the accredited district that receives its students as well as all transportation costs associated with the transfer. The unaccredited district may designate the district or districts for transportation funding. St. Louis area unaccredited districts involved in the transfer process on the state’s east side have struggled to meet these financial obligations and while also serving the students who remain in their districts.

Education leaders across Missouri, joined by the Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education and administration, are continuing to also urge state legislators to help provide the legal foundation for the New Path to Excellence plan and to clarify and improve the current school transfer law.

The Missouri Supreme Court’s Dec. 10 opinion mirrored an opinion it issued earlier this summer in a similar case brought by Clayton School District (located in the St. Louis metropolitan area). In its decision in the Breitenfeld vs. School District of Clayton case, the Supreme Court held that the transfer statute required nothing new of the Clayton School District in that the district was always required to educate “eligible pupils.” In their appeal, the taxpayers of the Lee’s Summit R-7 and other metro area school districts asserted that the statute does present a new mandate because, prior to the passage of the Hancock Amendment in 1980, there was no statutory requirement to admit significant numbers of students who do not meet residency requirements. Despite the unprecedented numbers of out-of-district students that the transfer statute will require the Kansas City metropolitan-area school districts to admit and educate, the court held that the statute imposes no new requirements.

Based partly on guidance issued by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and any pending legislative changes, the area school districts intend to implement policies and procedures which will allow for state-mandated transfers to occur during the 2014-2015 school year. The area school districts intend to work cooperatively with Kansas City Public Schools in order to ensure consistency.

Posted: 12/12/13

Missouri Supreme Court enters order declaring student transfer statute constitutional as to Clayton and St. Louis School Districts; Kansas City area accredited school districts will proceed with their challenge of the statute
Lee’s Summit R-7 among KC area districts proceeding with challenge

The Missouri Supreme Court issued a ruling June 11 on an appeal concerning whether RSMo. § 167.131 is constitutional as to the Clayton School District and the St. Louis Public School District.  The Supreme Court determined that the statute is constitutional as to those school districts, a ruling which gives students residing in the St. Louis Public School District the unconditional right to transfer to surrounding accredited districts, including the Clayton School District.

The court found that the transfer statute does not violate the Hancock Amendment to the Missouri Constitution in that it does not impose any new or increased duty on the Clayton School District.  Although the facts underlying the Clayton and St. Louis School Districts’ appeal are somewhat similar to the facts underlying a currently pending appeal involving Kansas City area accredited school districts, there are crucial differences between the cases and the Supreme Court’s recent opinion does not necessarily foreshadow how the court will rule on the area school district’s appeal.  Critically, prior to the trial concerning the Kansas City area accredited school districts, the state stipulated that RSMo. § 167.131 imposes a new mandate on accredited districts and that there is no state funding for the new mandate.

In a lawsuit filed on Dec. 23, 2011, the Kansas City area accredited school districts (Blue Springs, Independence, Lee’s SummitR-7, North Kansas City and Raytown) and taxpayers from those districts asserted that the transfer statute is unconstitutional under the Hancock Amendment. The trial of the case took place from Aug. 6, 2012 to Aug. 8, 2012.  Prior to the trial, on Aug. 1, 2012, Judge Brent Powell of the Circuit Court of Jackson County issued an order concerning portions of the area school districts’ Hancock Amendment claim.  Contrary to the Supreme Court’s opinion in the Breitenfeld case as to the Clayton and St. Louis school districts, Judge Powell determined that the transfer statute does impose a new mandate on the Kansas City area accredited school districts to admit a new population of students from Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS).  Judge Powell further determined prior to the trial that the state had failed to make a specific appropriation to finance the costs of the new mandate.

Following Judge Powell’s Aug. 1 order, the only issue that remained for trial was whether the transfer statute would impose increased costs on the area school districts.  Prior to trial, the state stipulated that (1) the mandate to admit non-resident students residing in unaccredited school districts was a new mandate created by an amendment to RSMo. § 167.131 in 1993; and (2) the area school districts would not receive any specific funding directly from the state to finance the costs associated with admitting and educating Kansas City Public Schools students.  After hearing evidence at trial concerning the increased costs that the transfer statute would impose on each of the area school districts, Judge Powell issued a split ruling on Aug. 16, 2012, declaring that the statute was unconstitutional as to the Independence, Lee’s Summit R-7 and North Kansas City School Districts, and not unconstitutional as to the Blue Springs and Raytown School Districts.

Taxpayers of the Kansas City area school districts, including Lee’s Summit R-7, will proceed with their challenge of the student transfer statute.  The taxpayers and area school districts agree with the stipulation of the State of Missouri that the transfer statute imposes a new mandate on accredited school districts in that it requires accredited districts to admit a new population of students which they were previously not required to admit.  In their continued challenge of the statute, the taxpayers and area school districts will highlight that the complete absence of any funding from the State for non-resident transfer students is violative of the Missouri Hancock Amendment, which protects citizens from tax increases.

Posted: 6/12/13

Trial court enters order declaring transfer statute unconstitutional
as to Lee’s Summit R-7 and two other area school districts

Judge Brent Powell of the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri issued an order on Aug. 16 declaring that Missouri Revised Statute § 167.131 is unconstitutional and invalid as to three area school districts: Lee’s Summit R-7, Independence and North Kansas City. Judge Powell held that the statute is not unconstitutional as to the Blue Springs and Raytown School Districts. The statute allows students who reside in unaccredited school districts, such as Kansas City Public Schools, to transfer to accredited schools and requires unaccredited districts to pay tuition for students who transfer.

In a lawsuit filed on Dec. 23, the Blue Springs, Independence, Lee’s Summit, North Kansas City and Raytown School Districts asserted that the transfer statute is unconstitutional under the Hancock Amendment to the Missouri Constitution. The Hancock Amendment protects citizens from tax increases by prohibiting unfunded mandates – it prohibits the state from imposing new activities on political subdivisions which cause political subdivisions to incur increased costs without a specific appropriation of funds from the State. In their petition, the school districts sought a declaratory judgment that the transfer statute is unconstitutional under the Hancock Amendment.

The trial of the case took place from Aug. 6 to Aug. 8. Prior to the trial, on Aug. 1, Judge Powell issued an order concerning portions of the school districts’ Hancock Amendment claim. Judge Powell determined that the transfer statute does impose a new mandate on accredited school districts to admit a new population of students from unaccredited districts, and that the state had failed to make a specific appropriation to finance the costs of the new mandate. Following the order, the only issue that remained for trial was whether the transfer statute would impose increased costs on the school districts.

During the three-day trial, the school districts presented evidence concerning how many Kansas City Public Schools students would transfer to their districts if the transfer statute is not invalidated. An expert retained by the school districts, Ken DeSeighardt of Patron Insight, Inc., testified concerning a telephone survey of Kansas City Public Schools parents with school-aged children. Mr. DeSeighardt testified that the results of the telephone survey showed that 741 to 2,291 Kansas City Public Schools students would transfer to each of the school districts if their parents did not have to pay tuition.

The school districts also presented evidence that they would incur significant costs due to the transfer of Kansas City Public Schools students because the tuition formula contained in the transfer statute is flawed. Finance officials from each of the school district testified that students from Kansas City Public Schools are, on average, more expensive to educate than their resident students. However, the tuition formula requires school districts to calculate tuition based on their own per-pupil expenditures and does not account for the higher per pupil costs of Kansas City students. The finance officials testified that their districts would have to build mobile classroom units and make other capital expenditures in order to accommodate the anticipated number of students that will transfer from Kansas City. However, the tuition formula does not permit school districts to include capital expenditures in their tuition calculation.

During closing arguments, the state argued that the tuition that accredited school districts are permitted to charge under the transfer statute qualifies as an appropriation under the Hancock Amendment.  The state further argued that the tuition payment would cover the costs associated with educating non-resident students, even though accredited school districts cannot include the higher costs associated with Kansas City students or capital expenditures in their non-resident tuition amount.

Based on the evidence presented at trial, Judge Powell determined that three of the school districts would incur increased costs if they were forced to comply with the transfer statute, but that the other two school districts would not incur increased costs beyond the amounts paid in tuition. Judge Powell’s ruling considered the tuition payments that Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) is required to make under the transfer statute as revenue that the area school districts would receive and could use to offset the costs associated with educating KCPS students. Judge Powell stated that his ruling “assumes that KCPS will pay area school districts and other accredited school districts receiving student transfers from KCPS the tuition required by Section 167.131.” Judge Powell recognized that “[i]f KCPS cannot make … tuition reimbursements, a Hancock Amendment violation will likely exists for every school district that enrolls students residing in KCPS pursuant to Section 167.131.”

In his ruling, Judge Powell stated that he “cautions school districts affected by Section 167.131 and parents and students interested in transferring from KCPS that many of the issues associated with the transfer of students pursuant to Section 167.131 remain unresolved.” The Court further stated that his “ruling could alter the projected number of students expected to transfer to eligible school districts resulting in increased costs for Blue Springs … and Raytown … not contemplated by the Court.”  The ruling anticipated that “additional Hancock Amendment challenges could be brought by KCPS and school districts that enroll students residing in KCPS pursuant to Section 167.131.”

The School District of Clayton, Missouri, previously asserted a Hancock Amendment challenge to the transfer statute after the School District of St. Louis, Missouri, was declared unaccredited, and Judge Vincent of the St. Louis County Circuit Court determined that the statute is unconstitutional as an unfunded mandate. The state has appealed Judge Vincent’s ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court, and the school districts anticipate that the state will also appeal the portion of Judge Powell’s ruling in favor of the Independence, Lee’s Summit and North Kansas City School Districts to the Missouri Supreme Court. The Blue Springs and Raytown School Districts will appeal the portion of Judge Powell’s ruling in favor of the state to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Posted: 8/17/12

Trial concerning KCPS student transfers concludes Aug. 8

Following a three-day trial, a Jackson County judge is being asked to consider whether or not a Missouri student transfer law violates the Hancock Amendment and creates an unfunded mandate. On Aug. 8, Judge Brent Powell heard closing arguments from attorneys representing taxpayers in each of five districts: Blue Springs, Independence, Lee’s Summit R-7, North Kansas City and Raytown, as well as attorneys representing the State of Missouri. The judge is expected to rule on the case in one to two weeks.

Posted 8/10/12

Trial date for case concerning student transfers postponed to Aug. 6

A lawsuit concerning student transfers from the Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) to neighboring accredited school districts was scheduled to go to trial on June 25.  During a pre-trial conference held on June 13, the trial was postponed for six weeks and rescheduled to begin on Aug. 6.

The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 23, 2011, by the Blue Springs, Independence, Lee’s Summit R-7, North Kansas City and Raytown School Districts, as well as individual taxpayers from those districts. Kansas City Public Schools, the State of Missouri, the Missouri attorney general and the State Board of Education are named as respondents in the action. The case was placed on an expedited docket in an effort to resolve the student transfer issue before the 2012-2013 school year, but state officials argued at the pre-trial conference that the trial should be postponed so the state can conduct additional discovery concerning an expert retained by the school districts and taxpayers.

In the lawsuit, the school districts challenge Missouri Revised Statute § 167.131, which requires accredited school districts to admit students from unaccredited districts without state funding. The school districts assert that Section 167.131 is unconstitutional under the Hancock Amendment to the Missouri Constitution. The Hancock Amendment prohibits the State of Missouri from imposing new activities on political subdivisions without “full state financing” and a specific appropriation by the legislature. The state has provided no financing for student transfers from Kansas City Public Schools and does not intend to provide any financing for this new requirement.

The school districts and taxpayers retained an expert, Kenneth DeSieghardt of Patron Insight, Inc., to conduct a survey concerning the number of Kansas City Public Schools students who will transfer to their districts if the court holds the statute to be constitutional and forces the districts to admit non-resident, Kansas City Public Schools students. As part of the survey, more than 600 randomly-selected KCPS parents were asked whether they would send their child to a different school if they were permitted to do so and if they did not have to pay tuition.  The survey also asked the parents about how the availability of transportation and the possible reaccreditation of the Kansas City Public Schools would impact their transfer decision.

The survey results demonstrate that substantial numbers of students will transfer out of Kansas City Public Schools if the court does not invalidate Section 167.131 as an unfunded mandate. The survey found that at least 7,759 students will transfer to the Blue Springs, Independence, Lee’s Summit R-7, North Kansas City and Raytown School Districts. Each of the school districts would receive a minimum of 741 to 2,291 new students. The report prepared by Mr. DeSieghardt indicates that his study was based upon a “very conservative” methodology that has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent, at the 95-percent confidence level.

The report prepared by Mr. DeSieghardt was attached to a brief that the school districts and taxpayers filed on May 18. The State of Missouri did not ask to depose Mr. DeSieghardt between the date state officials received his report (May 18) and the date of the pre-trial conference (June 13). Nonetheless, the State of Missouri asserted that the trial could not go forward on June 25 because it needed to conduct a deposition of Mr. DeSieghardt. The Honorable W. Brent Powell expressed frustration that the State of Missouri had failed to depose Mr. DeSieghardt in a timely manner, but also rescheduled the trial for Aug. 6, which should permit the judge to issue a ruling prior to the first day of the 2012-2013 school year.

Posted: 06/18/12

Area School Districts Seek Continuance and Respond to ACLU Letter 
Continuance allows time for KCPS Board of Education to
revise its student transfer policy to comply with state law

Attorneys representing five area school districts that recently questioned the Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) student transfer policy have requested a continuance of a hearing scheduled for Jan. 12 in Jackson County Court. The five districts are Blue Springs, Independence, Lee’s Summit R-7, North Kansas City and Raytown.

In the preliminary hearing Dec. 30, attorneys for KCPS admitted that KCPS Board of Education student transfer policy did not align with state statute (RSMO 167.131). If the continuance is granted, KCPS Board of Education would have time to consider revising its policy. Attorney Duane Martin requested the continuance on Jan. 9.

In addition, Mr. Martin responded to a letter sent Jan. 6 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and Kansas (ACLU).

In his reply, Mr. Martin explained the parameters of the state law that guide transfers of students from an unaccredited school district to an accredited one in an adjoining county:
There are two primary limitations in this section: (1) the payment of tuition by the unaccredited district in the amount set by the accredited district’s board of education; and (2) the provision of transportation by the unaccredited district.  If KCPS fails to meet the conditions of Section 167.131 regarding tuition and transportation, KCPS students do not have a statutory right to attend a neighboring public school.

The five area districts have board policies that require tuition in full and in advance before a transfer student can be enrolled.  KCPS board policy offers only a small portion of the actual tuition and in monthly installments. In addition, the policy shifts the responsibility of providing transportation of KCPS transfer students to the receiving school districts.

In the ACLU reply, Mr. Martin provided additional perspective on the overarching issues related to potential KCPS student transfers.  “It is critical to remember that all students will suffer if KCPS fails to meet the statutory requirements. As you know, the receiving public school districts are underfunded and cannot advance funds for the unanticipated expenditures associated with significant numbers of new students,” he said.

“Furthermore, if the receiving districts accept KCPS students without payment of tuition up front, then they will be assuming additional obligations without a specific appropriation by the state, and the individual taxpayers will have their constitutional rights violated under the Hancock Amendment,” he added.

At this time, the five area school districts are taking information from prospective KCPS student transfers, but are not enrolling transfers until board policy requirements are met.  The five districts also are waiting for the outcome of another legal challenge to the statute in the Missouri Supreme Court.

Posted: 01/10/12

Jackson County judge denies request for temporary restraining order from area school districts seeking clarification from court
Lee’s Summit R-7 School District included among local districts

Several area school districts, as well as individual taxpayers from those districts, filed a petition in Jackson County court on Dec. 23 seeking clarification regarding a Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) policy governing student transfers. The districts are Blue Springs, Independence, Lee’s Summit R-7, North Kansas City and Raytown with the Center School District joining the suit later in December. The petition sought to delay the implementation of the KCPS transfer policy while the education and governance issues of KCPS are determined in the courts, Missouri legislature or State Board of Education.

On Dec. 30, Circuit Court Judge W. Brent Powell denied a temporary restraining order requested by the area districts. The restraining order would have temporarily prohibited the transfer of students from the Kansas City Missouri School District to surrounding districts until the court could provide clarification regarding Kansas City Public School’s policy regarding student transfers.

The ruling does not change the fact that, in order to comply with state law, KCPS must provide tuition and transportation consistent with Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Board of Education policy before any student transfers can take place. The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District will begin taking information from any student requesting a future transfer from the Kansas City Missouri School District as part of a pre-registration process, but will not be enrolling students or accepting transfers until those requirements are met.

On Jan. 12, Lee’s Summit R-7 and the other five school districts are scheduled to be back in court seeking further clarification regarding KCPS’s transfer policy and the responsibility of both KCPS and surrounding school districts under current state law.

Lee’s Summit R-7 officials hopeful that a long-term, sustainable plan will be developed for the future of the Kansas City Missouri School District.

“We want to be a part of a solution that is in the best interests of all students,” said Dr. David McGehee, Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent. “At the same time, we will not be enrolling students from any unaccredited school district until we can assure our taxpayers that they will not be footing the bill for the education of students from the Kansas City School District.”

KCPS loses its accreditation Jan. 1, 2012. Under state law, students residing in the Kansas City Missouri School District are eligible to apply for a transfer to an accredited school district in Jackson County or an adjoining county. Prior to 1993, this law stated that accredited school districts could choose whether or not to admit students from unaccredited schools.  Under an amendment to the law in 1993, accredited schools districts are required to admit student transfers from an unaccredited district if the unaccredited district provides transportation and pays tuition as determined by the accredited district. Blue Springs, Independence, Lee’s Summit, North Kansas City, Raytown and Center are accredited school districts to which KCPS students may seek a transfer.

On Dec. 21, the KCPS Board of Education adopted a policy that requires the receiving accredited school districts to provide transportation for students. The policy does not state that KCPS will pay tuition in an amount set by the accredited districts or in accordance with the accredited districts’ tuition policies. Furthermore, the KCPS policy also does not allow all resident students to transfer, but instead, only allows students who have attended a KCPS school for two academic semesters immediately preceding the transfer request to a transfer.

The five districts listed above are committed and bound to meeting their legal obligations to all students involved.

The joint petition filed Dec. 23 by Lee’s Summit R-7 and the other area districts asked the court to clarify the rights and responsibilities of the parties under the recent KCPS student transfer policy.  The petition also asked the court to clarify the responsibilities of the parties under the statute regarding transfers, and to determine that the KCPS Board of Education policy is in violation of the Hancock Amendment.

Specifically, the petition asked for:
1. An injunction prohibiting KCPS from transferring resident pupils of KCPS according to its student transfer policy or in accordance with state law, Section 167.131 revised statutes of Missouri.

2. The court to declare:
a. KCPS student transfer policy is void as a violation of 167.131 revised statutes of Missouri.
b. KCPS transfer policy is invalid as it requires accredited schools to provide an education for and transportation of KCPS students in violation of Hancock Amendment.

3. In addition, as an alternative, the petition asks for:
a. A declaration that under 167.131, KCPS must pay tuition for all KCPS students who seek to transfer to any accredited school district in an amount determined by the accredited school district’s board of education, according to the tuition formula in 167.131,  and in accordance with the tuition policies of the accredited school district.
b. Declaring that under 167.131, KCPS must provide transportation for all KCPS students who seek to transfer to any accredited school district.

The petition is designed as an interim measure until the overarching issues surrounding the future of KCPS can be resolved. By taking this action collectively, the area districts hope to prevent the disruption of KCPS students’ education in the middle of an academic year, as well as provide time for a lasting and positive educational solution to be determined that will ultimately benefit all students.

Posted: 12/31/11

Area school districts seek clarification from court
Lee’s Summit R-7 School District included

Five area school districts, as well as individual taxpayers from those districts, have filed a petition in Jackson County court seeking clarification regarding a Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) policy governing student transfers. The districts are:  Blue Springs, Independence, Lee’s Summit, North Kansas City and Raytown.  The petition seeks to delay the implementation of the KCPS transfer policy while the education and governance issues of KCPS are determined in the courts, legislature or State Board of Education.

KCPS loses its accreditation Jan. 1, 2012. Under state law, students residing in the Kansas City, Mo., school district are eligible to apply for a transfer to an accredited school district in Jackson County or an adjoining county. Prior to 1993, this law stated that accredited school districts could choose whether or not to admit students from unaccredited schools.  Under an amendment to the law in 1993, accredited schools districts are required to admit student transfers from an unaccredited district if the unaccredited district provides transportation and pays tuition as determined by the accredited district. Blue Springs, Independence, Lee’s Summit, North Kansas City and Raytown are accredited school districts to which KCPS students may seek a transfer.

On Dec. 21, 2011, the KCPS Board of Education adopted a policy that requires the receiving accredited school districts to provide transportation for students. The policy does not state that KCPS will pay tuition in an amount set by the accredited districts or in accordance with the accredited districts’ tuition policies. Furthermore, the KCPS policy also does not allow all resident students to transfer, but instead, only allows students who have attended a KCPS school for two academic semesters immediately preceding the transfer request to a transfer.

The five districts listed above are committed and bound to meeting their legal obligations to all students involved.

On Friday, Dec. 23, representatives from the five districts filed the joint petition in Jackson County, which asks the court to clarify the rights and responsibilities of the parties under the recent KCPS student transfer policy.  The petition also asks the court to clarify the responsibilities of the parties under the statute regarding transfers, and to determine that the KCPS Board of Education policy is in violation of the Hancock Amendment.

Specifically, the petition asks for:
1.  An injunction prohibiting KCPS from transferring resident pupils of KCPS according to its student transfer policy or in accordance with state law, Section 167.131 revised statutes of Missouri.
2.  The court to declare:
a.     KCPS student transfer policy is void as a violation of 167.131 revised statutes of Missouri.
b.     KCPS transfer policy is invalid as it requires accredited schools to provide an education for and transportation of KCPS students in violation of Hancock Amendment.
3.  In addition, as an alternative, the petition asks for:
a.     A declaration that under 167.131, KCPS must pay tuition for all KCPS students who seek to transfer to any accredited school district in an amount determined by the accredited school district’s Board of Education, according to the tuition formula in 167.131,  and in accordance with the tuition policies of the accredited school district.
b.     Declaring that under 167.131, KCPS must provide transportation for all KCPS students who seek to transfer to any accredited school district.

The petition is designed as an interim measure until the overarching issues surrounding the future of KCPS can be resolved. By taking this action collectively, the five districts hope to prevent the disruption of KCPS students’ education in the middle of an academic year, as well as provide time for a lasting and positive educational solution to be determined that will ultimately benefit all students.

Posted: 12/26/11

Lee’s Summit R-7 Legislative Platform 2014

 Elected Officials

 

Get Social

Facebook

 

Blog

District Newsletter Signup

mail