School Districts Analyze, Then Respond to Court Ruling
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Circuit Court of Jackson County issued its ruling Thursday afternoon in the case involving the Kansas City, Missouri School District and five neighboring school districts.
In brief, Jackson County judge Brent Powell’s ruling is split on the five school districts who brought the case against the Kansas City, Missouri, School District.
Blue Springs, Independence, Lee’s Summit, North Kansas City and Raytown School districts claimed 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. Taxpayers in those districts challenged state law which allows students to transfer out of unaccredited schools. They argued that the costs to accept these children will far exceed the tuition neighboring schools will get from the KCSD.
The court found that Independence, North Kansas City, Lee’s Summit will incur increased costs as a result of students transferring into their schools, which violates the Missouri Hancock Amendment. The court found Blue Springs and Raytown districts will not incur increased costs and acceptance of transfer students would not violate the Hancock Amendment.
The court does not stipulate whether upfront payment of tuition is required before transfer.
The adjoining schools have not accepted KCMO School District transfers until the amount KCMOSD should pay for the transfers was decided.
The ruling by Judge Powell is expected to be appealed. 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.