Government & Politics

First two Kansas innovative school districts are selected

The Blue Valley and Kansas City, Kan., school districts will have to wait another day.

The Concordia and McPherson school districts in Kansas were chosen Wednesday as the first innovative school districts under a new state law enacted last year.

The law gives districts designated innovative by the state the ability to get out from under state laws that they think impede learning.

The districts were chosen from eight initial applicants to be part of the Kansas Coalition of Innovative School Districts.

The law allows up to 29 districts of the state’s 286 school districts to qualify as innovative.

Blue Valley and Kansas City, Kan., were among the other applicants. Their applications are still in play because they will be reviewed later.

Blue Valley wants to lift the teaching licensing requirements so the district can more easily hire specialized instructors to teach “real-world programs” such as sports medicine and law.

The Kansas City, Kan., district wants to waive the requirement so it can put students in a business climate with experts in different fields.

Districts made presentations Wednesday to Gov. Sam Brownback, House Education Committee Chairwoman Kasha Kelley and Senate Education Committee Chairman Steve Abrams.

The three unanimously approved the first two districts, citing their goals and focus on improving achievement.