KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Jackson County judge will determine whether Kansas City school kids can transfer to neighboring school district. The judge's ruling will not be the final say.
After more than two days of testimony, student transfers from the unaccredited Kansas City School district to neighboring schools is in the hands of the judge. Five school districts claim the law allowing children to transfer out of the unaccredited schools in an unfunded mandate which violates the Hancock Amendment to the Missouri Constitution.
More than 7,700 kids currently living in the KCSD would transfer to nearby public schools according to a survey commissioned by the Blue Springs, Independence, Lee's Summit, North Kansas City and Raytown School districts. Taxpayers in those districts are challenging state law which allows students to transfer out of unaccredited schools arguing that the costs to accept these children will far exceed the tuition neighboring schools will get from the KCSD.
"When you have the numbers of student transfers that are projected to come from Kansas City into the area school districts, it's obvious there will substantial capital costs that will not be recovered in tuition or otherwise," said Duane Martin.
Regardless of how Jackson County judge Brent Powell rules, any decision is expected to be appealed. KCSD children who want to transfer remain in limbo while neighboring districts say they don't expect this issue to be resolved until next spring.
Judge Powell says he hopes to issue his ruling by next week at the earliest. A similar case in St. Louis already is being appealed after a judge there decided the school transfer law is unconstitutional because it amounted to an unfunded mandate on the districts receiving students.