The Buzz

January 7, 2014

Opponents of school transfer law suddenly have a problem

His name is House Speaker Tim Jones

The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

Missouri lawmakers have been generally optimistic about the prospects of altering the state’s school transfer law that threatens to create financial havoc this year for the Kansas City School District.

But now, Missourinet reports that House Speaker Tim Jones has weighed in on the issue. And he says he’s bullish on the current law and not eager to change it.

“I don’t know what’s unfair about allowing a child to have an opportunity at a good education versus being forever stuck and mired in a failing school district,” Jones told Missourinet’s Mike Lear.

He says he is willing to negotiate, but called the transfer law a way to give children in failing districts a chance at success.

“I am very sensitive to the needs of districts to be able to manage the populations in their classrooms, to be able to manage their funding, but I am more sensitive to the needs of the children and the needs of these parents, who want their kids to succeed.”

Jones’ opposition could pose big problems for advocates of a change in state law, given how much power the speaker has to shape the agenda in the state Capitol.

Under current state law, students in districts, such as Kansas City’s, that are unaccredited, can transfer to accredited districts with the unaccredited district paying the expense. The law could cost the Kansas City district a lot of money the same way it cost the Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts near St. Louis a lot of money last year, threatening both with bankruptcy.

The state Supreme Court recently upheld the transfer law.

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