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Helping the Kansas City School District

31st District State Senator March 2, 2012 

Missouri’s students deserve an education that is equal to any across the nation. When a school district loses accreditation, it can have a major impact on those students’ futures. Since accreditation is tied to a district’s teaching processes, losing accreditation means that the district’s quality of teaching and student learning is in question. Among other things, unaccreditation can affect a student’s ability to get into college. No student that wants to continue on to higher education should have his or her future jeopardized.

The Kansas City Public School District lost its accreditation on Jan. 1, 2012, after passing just three of the 14 performance standards required by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Losing accreditation means that the district has two years to reach the goal of achieving six of 14 standards to be provisionally accredited. However, KCPSD has tried for years to correct their problems and has been unable to improve. In order to provide students with the best education possible, I have introduced legislation to speed up the process.

Senate Bill 677 would remove the two-year waiting period between becoming unaccredited and the automatic dissolution of the district. By doing so, the Missouri State Board of Education can appoint a replacement board for the district in order to jump-start the district’s work back to accreditation. The measure would also allow the state board to set a specific length of time to reach improvement or be recertified as unaccredited, keeping the district under the board’s supervision.

This legislation is not only a positive step for the KCPSD, it also creates the potential to help other districts in similar circumstances. Through many years of changing leadership in the KCPSD, this bill would create continuity in board governance. The goal of SB 677, and the Senate as a whole, is to ensure that all of Missouri’s students have the same opportunity for a quality education.

As always, please feel free to contact me or my staff with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at 866-277-0882 or 573-751-2272, or by fax at 573-526-7381.

Senator David Pearce serves Bates, Cass, Johnson and Vernon counties in the 31st State Senatorial District.

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