Turner v. Clayton was remanded to the Missouri Supreme Court due to the number of constitutional challenges contained within the case. In the Kansas City area, Judge Brent Powell ruled that transfers to the Raytown and Blue Springs districts were allowable, while transfers to the North Kansas City, Lee’s Summit, and Independence districts were not.
In his ruling, Judge Powell said that transfer of KCPS students would not violate the Hancock Amendment, which states that all mandates must be funded, and he also said that transfers would not cause undue financial burden on the Raytown School District.
Superintendent Dr. Allan Markley disagrees with Powell’s assessment.
" We have no guarantee that Kansas City Public Schools would be able to fully reimburse us for the cost of educating students who transferred to our district," Markley said. Also at issue is the per pupil expenditure, as Raytown spends more per pupil than does KCPS.
Current Raytown Board of Education policy prohibits students who do not live within the boundaries of the Raytown School district from enrolling in the district.
"Our Board of Education had great foresight in creating policy which protects us from transfers of students from unaccredited districts," Markley said.
The outcome of the Turner v. Clayton case will likely provide a ruling precedent for the Kansas City area. No date has been set for that trial.
Earlier today, Judge Brent Powell of the Circuit Court of Jackson County, ruled on a case in which Raytown School District was a plaintiff. The case regarded the transfer of Kansas City Public School district students from their unaccredited district to accredited area districts, including Raytown. Judge Powell ruled that KCPS students can transfer to Raytown, as the transfers do not violate the Hancock Amendment in state statutes. The Hancock amendment was passed in 1980 to protect school districts from additional requirements from the state without additional funding to pay for them.
Below you will find the district’s response to Judge Powell’s ruling. Of particular importance is that we currently have Board policy which prohibits enrolling any out of district student without upfront tuition paid in full. As updates become available, they will be posted on this site.
Raytown C-2 School District’s response to Judge Brent Powell’s August 16, 2012 ruling regarding transfer students from the Kansas City Public School (KCPS) District:
The Raytown School District has policy in place which requires tuition be paid in full before any transfer student may enroll. The validity of this policy has not been in question or challenged and the district will continue to abide by Board policy throughout the appeal process.
The Raytown School District is saddened by Judge Powell’s (August 16) ruling declaring that Mo. Rev. Stat § 167.131 is unconstitutional and invalid, as it does not recognize nor specifically outline the difference in per pupil expenditures as opposed to tuition. The split decision, excluding only some districts from receiving Kansas City Public School student transfers, further increases concern. Numbers of students who had indicated they might transfer to one of the three exempted districts might now indicate interest in the Raytown or Blue Springs districts, furthering the unaccounted for costs. Judge Powell stated in his ruling: “The costs associated with students transferring pursuant to Section 167.131 could vary year to year for KCPS and school districts enrolling transferring students. In fact, this Court’s ruling could alter the projected number of students expected to transfer to eligible school districts, resulting in increased costs for Blue Springs R-IV District and Raytown C-2 District not contemplated by the court.”
Furthermore, Judge Powell indicated in his concerns that the issue is not resolved and will be appealed, when he stated: “The Court cautions school districts affected by Section 167.131 and parents and students interested in transferring from KCPS that many of the issues associated with the transfer of students pursuant to Section 167.131 remain unresolved. This Court’s ruling will undoubtedly be appealed.”
Superintendent Dr. Allan Markley said, regarding the ruling, “We will follow Board policy and not admit any students from an unaccredited school district without tuition being paid in full.”
Judge Powell’s ruling also assumes that KCPS will pay area districts the tuition required by Section 167.131, but maintains that the Court cannot speculate on KCPS’s ability to pay the tuition reimbursements required by the same section.
In the original petition, surrounding districts asked the Jackson County Court to declare the KCPS student transfer policy invalid and to stop KCPS from transferring students under that policy. Attorneys for the petitioning school districts explained that transfers, as defined in the KCPS policy and Missouri Revised Statute 167.131, would violate the state’s Hancock Amendment, because accredited school districts would be required to perform new and expanded activities which would significantly increase their costs without a specific appropriation by the State.In court, an attorney from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office stated this action would assert a constitutional challenge to state law (167.131) and that the State must be involved in the litigation. The petitioners (i.e. the five surrounding school districts) added the Missouri State Board of Education as a respondent because of its decision to revoke KCPS’s accreditation in the middle of the 2011-2012 school year. Attorneys for the petitioning school districts contend the State Board’s action effectively imposed additional financial obligations on the surrounding school districts which violate the Hancock Amendment.Due to the serious Hancock Amendment concerns that are raised by state law (167.131), by KCPS’s interpretation of the statute, and by the State Board’s mid-year revocation of KCPS’s accreditation, the five school districts believed it was necessary to add the State, the Attorney General, and the State Board of Education to the legal filing.
In the preliminary hearing Dec. 30, attorneys for KCPS admitted that KCPS Board of Education student transfer policy did not align with state statute (RSMO 167.131). If the continuance is granted, KCPS Board of Education would have time to consider revising its policy. Attorney Duane Martin requested the continuance on Monday, January 9.
In addition, Martin responded to a letter sent last Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and Kansas (ACLU).In his reply, Martin explained the parameters of the state law that guide transfers of students from an unaccredited school district to an accredited one in an adjoining county:
There are two primary limitations in this section: (1) the payment of tuition by the unaccredited district in the amount set by the accredited district’s board of education; and (2) the provision of transportation by the unaccredited district. If KCPS fails to meet the conditions of Section 167.131 regarding tuition and transportation, KCPS students do not have a statutory right to attend a neighboring public school.
The five area districts have board policies that require tuition in full and in advance before a transfer student can be enrolled. KCPS board policy offers only a small portion of the actual tuition and in monthly installments. In addition, the policy shifts the responsibility of providing transportation of KCPS transfer students to the receiving school districts.
In the ACLU reply, Martin provided additional perspective on the overarching issues related to potential KCPSstudent transfers. He stated, “It is critical to remember that all students will suffer if KCPS fails to meet the statutory requirements. As you know, the receiving public school districts are under funded and cannot advance funds for the unanticipated expenditures associated with significant numbers of new students.”
“Furthermore, if the receiving districts accept KCPS students without payment of tuition up front, then they will be assuming additional obligations without a specific appropriation by the State, and the individual taxpayers will have their constitutional rights violated under the Hancock Amendment,” he added.
At this time, the five area school districts are taking information from prospective KCPS student transfers, but are not enrolling transfers until board policy requirements are met. The five districts also are waiting for the outcome of another legal challenge to the statute in the Missouri Supreme Court.
* Blue Springs, Independence, Lee’s Summit, North Kansas City and Raytown school districts
UPDATE, 12-27-11: Please see the following link with information regarding a December 24 court petition filed by the Raytown C-2 School District in reference to the transfer of Kansas City Missouri School District students beginning January 1.
Area School Districts Seek Clarification from Court_____________________________________________
Information for Kansas City Missouri School District parents and students:The December 16, 2011 release below explains Raytown's Board of Education policy regarding non-resident enrollment. Those wishing to pursue enrollment in Raytown will need the following linked forms:
Residency Checklist (PDF)Affidavit of Residency (PDF)
The Residency Office will be closed from December 19, 2011- January 2, 2012. It will re-open on January 3 at 8:30 until 11:00 and again from 1:30-3:30. Please call 816-268-7035 for an appointment.
To view a video of Dr. Allan Markley, Superintendent discussing possible student transfers from the Kansas City Missouri School District, follow this link
Student Transfers from the Kansas City Public School District
December 16, 2011
Raytown, MO- The role of the Raytown School District in partnership with our patrons is to protect the educational rights of our students as we enter a time of uncertainty in regards to student transfers (SEE LINK ABOVE FOR 12-27-11 RELEASE REGARDING A COURT PETITION).