Missouri Considers Red Light Camera Fix
March 11, 2014

KC Star:

Red-light cameras have a great view around Kansas City, but no power to ticket intersection scofflaws. Court rulings have, for the moment, turned the cameras into harmless voyeurs.

Now, the Missouri General Assembly looks poised to deputize the artificial traffic cops with legislation that would clarify what the courts have found cloudy.

The House is expected to approve legislation this week that Kansas City officials hope would let the red-light camera program blink back on.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Dave Hinson of St. Clair, said no state rules currently govern the use of traffic enforcement cameras. Hinson said he would prefer to see red-light cameras outlawed, but he’s crafted a compromise to implement tough regulations while leaving final decisions in the hands of local officials.

“This is a way to provide some certainty to cities,” Hinson said. “Ultimately, it’s a local-control issue. If the cities want to do it, that’s up to them.”

Court rulings nixed the camera-generated tickets because they don’t assign points to a driver’s record, contrary to state law. The legislation would grant special exemption for points-free moving violations for red-light camera cases.

While the House is on board with the plan, the Senate may be a tougher hill to climb. Opponents there fear that enshrining traffic enforcement cameras into state law ultimately would lead to greater proliferation around the state. That, said Democratic Sen. Jason Holsman of Kansas City, could be a slippery slope toward greater government surveillance of law-abiding citizens.

More: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/03/10/v-print/4880294/bill-in-missouri-house-could-give.html

Student Transfer Bill Heads for Mo. Senate
February 20, 2014

AP) – A Missouri Senate committee has advanced legislation on student transfers and unaccredited school districts, clearing the way for debate by the full chamber.

The Senate Education Committee endorsed the bill Thursday. Committee Chairman David Pearce, a Republican from Warrensburg, says the vote is a huge step.

Numerous bills have been filed this year to address struggling school districts and a state law requiring unaccredited districts to pay tuition and transportation costs for students who transfer to a nearby accredited school. The law has led to financial problems for unaccredited districts and concerns among accredited schools about the number of transfers they must accept.

Students have transferred during the current academic year out of St. Louis County’s unaccredited Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts. The Kansas City district is also unaccredited.
Kansas City Democrat Jason Holsman voted AGAINT the plan.
He objects to an amendment that was attached to the bill.
The amendment would permit fleeing students to transfer to a non sectarian private school.
Holsman opposes uses public money for a private school in this manner.

Area Superintendents & State Senators Look For Way Out of Student Transfer “Train Wreck”
December 19, 2013

Kansas City State Senators meet with superintendents on student transfer law.
Several Kansas City State Senators and more than a dozen school superintendents met Thursday, to express their worries over the Missouri student transfer law.
There was a lot of talk during a two- hour private meeting of changing the law.
"We need to figure out how to stop what is looking like a train wreck, one way or another, said Clay County State Senator Ryan Silvey of Clay County. He was one if the five senators at the meeting.
Kansas City State Senator Jason Holsman said the meeting was intended to assess the situation.
He also conceded there are lots of ideas to work through.
Holsman said the group had "a frank conversation" about the issue.
One concept being promoted by many schools in both the Kansas City and the St. Louis areas would reclassify failing schools and offer more chances for a district to get out of unaccredited status.
The plan is also supported by the Missouri Association of School Administrators.
The Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Ed Pearce, has offered a plan based on the same plan.
The discussion turned from hypothetical to immediate earlier this month when the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the student transfer law in a case involving the unaccredited Kansas City School system.
Kansas City Superintendent Stephen Green was at the meeting.
His district is worried the student transfer law could seriously harm his district, costing it students who want to flee.
A drop in attendance would mean less state money, since state funds are based on attendance.
Suburban districts are worried they could be flooded with transfer requests. They worry they don’t have room to accept them.
Another State Senator, Paul LeVota of Independence, has filed a bill that would protect receiving school districts if they have no room for students fleeing a failed district.

KC School Take-Over Bill Clears State Senate
February 6, 2013

kids at school
The bid to immediately take over the failed Kansas City, Missouri school district picked up speed at the State Capitol Wednesday night.
The State Senate unanimously advanced a bill permitting the immediate state take-over of any failing Missouri school system. The bill doesn’t identify the troubled district Kansas City district by name, however, it is clearly the target of the measure.
After a final vote, expected Thursday, the bill moves to the House.
Under current law, the Kansas City school system has until June 30, 2014 to avoid a state take-over.
“That’s too long,” said Senate Education Committee Chairman David Pearce, R-Warrensburg according to the Associated press, “We have students that are languishing, who need help, and we as a state need to come in and do that.”
The administrators of the Kansas City District are hoping test scores improve this year enough to re-gain provisional accreditation and stave off a take-over.
Pearce says the students in the district need help now. He is the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee and the sponsor of the bill.
The administrators of the Kansas City District are hoping test scores improve this year enough to re-gain at least provisional accreditation and stave off a take- over.
Board presidentg Arick West says the district’s focus remains “to improve scholar achievement”.
Kansas City’s Democratic Senate delegation also voted for the bill.
.Senator Jason Holsman, a former teacher in the district, says the district’s problems are larger than just the problems in the classroom. He told the AP poverty; the transient nation of the district’s population ; and a lack of parental involvement are big problems for the school system..
“This bill is a means to an end for significant change in the short run, but it’s not going to address the inherent problems with failure,” said Holsman, D-Kansas City. He added: “I do think it’s time for a change.”
Bids to force a state take-over of the Kansas City school system passed the legislature last year, but got caught up in end-of-the-session politics and were never passed.
Pearce wants to press his bill forward early in this session to avoid that problem this year.

Senate Education Panel Zips Through KC School Take Over Bill 10-0
January 30, 2013

The Missouri Senate Education Committee gave unanimous approved to a bill that could speed up the state take-over the unaccredited Kansas City, Missouri School system.
The bill moves to the full Senate. A similar bill passed both Houses of the legislature last year. It was caught up in the last-minute flurry at the State Capitol and was not passed.
Kansas City Senators Kiki Curls and Jason Holsman says they hope they can buy some time, even if the take over bill is passed this year.
Curls and Holsman want the Missouri Education Chief, Chris Nicastro, to wait until the new state school test scores coming out in late summer before making any move.
The KC school district administration hopes those scores will show more academic improvement. The hope the improved scores could lead to provisional accreditation and stave off a state take-over.