Missouri declines to give Kansas City Public Schools temporary provisional accreditation

07/22/2014 1:38 PM

07/22/2014 5:39 PM

The Missouri state school board said Tuesday that it is not ready to give Kansas City Public Schools temporary provisional accreditation.

The board’s decision means the school district, at least for now, will have to allow student transfers under state law that gives families the choice to leave unaccredited districts for nearby districts.

The district asked for temporary provisional status based on mounting data that it thinks will show strong enough performance to earn at least provisional accreditation from the state board later this fall. State report cards, which are the key factor in accreditation decisions, become public Aug. 29.

But the board decided it needs to wait until more data are in.

“There is not sufficient data available yet for KCPS to verify that they have earned provisional accreditation,” the board said in a prepared statement. “Once the data are available, and the district is able to confirm that they have, in fact, earned such status, the Board will consider their request.”

About 18 students are going through the process of transferring, the district reported — which is far less than the roughly 2,000 students who had transferred out of the unaccredited Normandy and Riverview Gardens school districts in St. Louis.

But the concern was enough for Kansas City that the district wanted to try to get the early designation to stop the transfers. If Kansas City receives provisional accreditation this fall, students who transfer will have to return to the district next school year.

“Students struggle when they are moved back and forth between districts,” Kansas City Superintendent Steve Green said in a prepared statement. “We sought to help those students avoid that kind of whiplash.”

The district will accumulate more performance data, Green said. “We are confident that the data will substantiate our proposal.”

The state board discussed Kansas City’s request in a closed session Tuesday because the school district has a lawsuit pending in which it has sued to the state to give it provisional accreditation. Kansas City has been unaccredited since January 2012.

To reach Joe Robertson, call 816-234-4789 or send email to jrobertson@kcstar.com.

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