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Missouri Judge Denies Districts' Request to Halt K.C. Transfers

Late last week, five Missouri school districts asked a judge to halt student transfers from the 17,400-student Kansas City district until the courts could work out issues related to tuition and transportation.

Late last week, a judge denied their request. But the school districts will be back in court Jan. 12 in order to work out clarification on how to handle potential transfers from the Kansas City school district, which lost its state accreditation at the start of 2012.

Missouri law allows students who live in an unaccredited district to transfer to a nearby accredited school district. Districts near Kansas City said they feared an uncontrolled influx of students in the middle of a school year. The same problem is playing out in St Louis, which is also unaccredited by the state. Districts surrounding St. Louis are fighting the transfer policy, and I explored these issues in a recent article.

Kansas City has said that it will provide transportation to only the four districts that share a boundary with the school system. The Kansas City school system has also said that if it disagrees with the amount of tuition requested by a receiving district, it will seek state arbitration.

The five school districts say both policies are contrary to state law. Each of the districts—Blue Springs, Independence, Lee's Summit, North Kansas City and Raytown—say they will not accept transfers until tuition is paid in full and in advance of a student's enrollment.

"We want to be a part of a solution that is in the best interests of all students," said David McGehee, the superintendent of the 17,600-student Lee's Summit district, in a statement. "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."

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