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Missouri Lawmakers to Deal with Unaccredited Schools

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Lawmakers have been meeting with people around the state about what should happen in the state’s unaccredited school districts as they consider the legislation they will push in the 2012 session.

Kansas City Public Schools’ loss of accreditation takes effect Jan. 1. St. Louis Public Schools and the nearby Riverview Gardens School District lost their accreditation in 2007.

Some issues affect all three districts, including a contested law that says unaccredited districts must pick up the tab for tuition and transportation to send students living within their boundaries to accredited schools in the same or an adjoining county. The issue, which is before the courts, has the potential to allow droves of students to leave the unaccredited schools.

Two groups, the Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City and the Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis, consider the transfer issue their top priority this session.

They want suburban districts to have the ability to reject transfer students if they will overload classrooms. The suburban schools also want to limit transfers to students who’ve attended unaccredited schools for at least a year, with the exception of kindergartners. They said that if students from private and parochial schools seek transfers, the state will suddenly be responsible for educating more students, straining the state’s limited resources.

Lawmakers considered making changes last session but failed to pass anything.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may  not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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