Five school districts, including Blue Springs and Independence, are asking a judge to clarify the policy governing how the Kansas City School District will handle student transfers.

Five school districts, including Blue Springs and Independence, are asking a judge to clarify the policy governing how the Kansas City School District will handle student transfers.


The Kansas City district loses its accreditation Jan. 1, and under state law, its students will be able to apply to transfer to an accredited school district in Jackson County or the adjoining counties. The petition asks that a judge delay any transfers until concerns are sorted out, either by the courts, the legislature or the State Board of Education.


Besides the Independence and Blue Springs districts, petitioners  include the Lee's Summit, North Kansas City and Raytown districts, plus the individual taxpayers of the petitioning districts.


Last week the Kansas City district adopted a policy that the suburban districts consider contradictory to state law, so they want a judge to consider the issue.


Before 1993, the law stated that accredited school districts could choose whether to admit students from unaccredited schools. A 1993 amendment requires accredited districts to admit transfers from an unaccredited district if the unaccredited district provides transportation and pays tuition as determined by the accredited district.


But last Wednesday, the Kansas City Board of Education adopted a policy that requires the districts receiving students to provide transportation. The policy does’t state that Kansas City will pay tuition set by the accredited districts or in accordance with the accredited districts’ tuition policies. The policy also says that transferring students must have attended a Kansas City school for two semesters immediately preceding the transfer request.


The joint petition was filed Friday in Jackson County. In addition to clarification of the rights and responsibilities of the parties under the recent Kansas City student transfer policy, the districts want the court to clarify which district is responsible for what under the statute regarding transfers. They also are asking the court to determine that the new Kansas City policy violates the Hancock Amendment, part of the Missouri Constitution governing taxation.