Neighboring Districts Prepare for Flood of KCMO Students

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo.— Another major impact of Tuesday's decision could come early next year. State law allows students from non-accredited districts to transfer to neighboring districts. The law is being challenged by suburbanSt. Louis schools and a trial is scheduled for January. Local educators say depending on the outcome, there could be a major strain on their schools.

The Superintendent of the Independence School District isn't surprised Kansas City's district was stripped of its accreditation.

"I think most superintendents were anticipating the decision today," Jim Hinson says.

Now Hinson is anticipating more students will be coming to his district in January.

"We can handle some additional students in certain areas," he explains.

Already the Independence School District is building two new elementary schools to handle its own population. The lawsuit in St. Louis asks that a limit be put on the number of students who can transfer into a district.

"The Missouri Supreme Court did not allow school districts to say 'we're at capacity,'" Hinson says.

So if a district is flooded with new students, they could be forced to finance and build new schools. In Liberty, school buildings are already maxed out.

"We don't have room for additional students," Superintendent Mike Brewer says.

Even if tuition and transportation's paid for by Kansas City, Missouri's district, as the law requires.

"The tuition that they would pay to us would not offset the additional cost of needing to build classrooms," explains Brewer.

While it's a challenge, these superintendents say they sympathize with families in their own district and in Kansas City's knowing the months ahead are sure to be an adjustment.

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