Government & Politics

June 24, 2014

Nixon vetoes Missouri student transfer bill to little effect in KC

Gov. Jay Nixon followed through on his vow to veto new school transfer rules effecting students in failing districts. The legislation would have had minimal effect in Kansas City because few students sought to transfer from the currently unaccredited district.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday vetoed school transfer legislation that allowed the use of public money to pay for certain students to attend private schools.

Nixon called state lawmakers’ latest attempt to overhaul a student transfer law a “dangerous voucher scheme.” The legislation also would have eliminated a requirement that unaccredited districts pay for students’ transportation to new schools and called for accreditation of individual schools rather than entire districts.

Students in unaccredited districts in St. Louis city, St. Louis County and Jackson County could have tapped local tax revenue to pay for private school tuition, subject to local voter approval. Systems that had lost accreditation for at least three straight years would not have needed voter consent.

The Kansas City Public Schools are unaccredited, which allows for its students to transfer under the current law, but the impact has been felt far less than in the St. Louis area.

Only 24 students applied to transfer from Kansas City in the 2014-2015 school year.

Furthermore, the district is projecting that it will score well enough on its next state report card to earn at least provisional accreditation, which would eliminate the transfer option.

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