Mo. Supreme Court okays student transfers to accredited schools

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Missouri Supreme Court ruling will allow students in the Kansas City, Mo., School District to transfer out of the unaccredited district and into accredited schools in nearby districts.

Kansas City, Mo., School District Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green said the ruling has the potential to devastate the district and rip the stability away from thousands of urban students. He also had some very strong words for the Missouri Department of Elementary and secondary education calling their inaction threatening.

The courts ruling could force KC public schools to Pay tuition and transportation costs for students who depart to neighboring districts.

How much the district will have to pay is still unknown.

The district has been saying it will pay 3500 for each student -- but the actual costs per student per year is around 10-thousand according to the district.

That was the argument Five Kansas City area school districts took in the challenge of the Missouri Transfer Law stating it was unconstitutional as it causes taxpayers to bear additional costs of educating significant numbers of out-of-district students.

The court disagreed.

Green said the district's primary concern is the welfare of its 16,000 students.

"I want you to know we are keeping all options on the table, all options on the table," he said. "We will protect the integrity of our schools and we will place greater emphasis on obtaining a third year of increases student achievement.

Raytown's Superintendent Allan Markley said multiple transfers could cause some issues.

"We will comply with the law, but at the same time, we will also look at our capacity measures," he said. "We will look at the transportation issues that may arise and we'll also make sure we protect the taxpayers and the students who are currently living in the school district so we don't use any services those students are now receiving."

Mayor Sly James issued a statement urging state legislators to alter the state transfer law in the upcoming session. Mayor James also said "families don't have to choose between living in Kansas City and sending their children to excellent schools. The two are not mutually exclusive."

Green said he hopes students who want to transfer out of the Kansas City, Mo., School District won't be able to do so until after this school year ends.

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