State Senate Approves KC School Take Over Bill, “We’re One Step Closer to Getting It Done”, Says Sponsor
May 16, 2012

The Chairman of the State Senate Education Committee, Sen. David Pearce, says "we’re one step closer" to an immediate state take over of the unaccredited Kansas City School District.
Pearce says the State Senate unanimously approved the House version of the bill and sent it back to the House.
The bill changes Missouri law. It would eliminate the current two-year waiting period before the state could step in and control an unaccredited school district.
Kansas City became a take over target when the state stripped it of it’s accreditation January 1, 2012. Now, the district does not join the potential take over list until Jan 1, 2014.
The measure remains alive as the legislature heads into it’s final two days of the session.
The measure would also eliminate the elected school board. Under the proposal, the Missouri Board of Education would appoint of new Kansas City School Board. A majority of the appointed board would have to be from within the district’s boundaries, but not all members would have to be KC School District patrons.
Pearce sponsored a similar measure in the Senate. He called Wednesday’s vote, "a step in the right direction".
In a sign that may suggest how serious this proposal has become, the Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro issued a statement Wednesday night.
“If the State Board of Education determines action is necessary for the Kansas City District, we will consult with the community, determine what action should be taken, and we will work to ensure a smooth transition for the children, families and staff.”


Springfield School Chief Supports Quicker Take-Over of KC Schools
January 26, 2012

From the Springfield News Leader via johncombest:
The Springfield public schools superintendent threw his support for behind a House bill aimed at fixing failing schools in Missouri.
Superintendent Norm Ridder told members of a House committee that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education needs more flexibility in dealing with struggling districts like the one in Kansas City. That school system has lost its accreditation in September, making it the third unaccredited district in Missouri.
Ridder said the fix is needed because efforts to restore accreditation to those districts could end up siphoning off resources for districts around the state.
“I don’t want that to happen,” Ridder said.
House Bill 1174, which is sponsored by Rep. Mike Lair of Chillicothe, shortens the period of time between when a district loses accreditation and when DESE can step in and assist the schools. It also allows the department more leeway in bringing the school back into accreditation, such as determining the district’s governance.
He said one of the biggest regrets he had from those struggling schools was that school officials didn’t act soon enough, sometimes because egos got in the way of doing what was right.
Lair’s bill, Ridder said, would provide some quick action to help the Kansas City district.
“It needs governance, it needs leadership and it needs to happen now,” Ridder said.
Springfield is the largest accredited district in Missouri with more than 24,000 enrolled students.