With Kansas City Public Schools losing accreditation January 1, the district has set up a new policy allowing for students to transfer to accredited districts.
Missouri law currently requires that unaccredited districts pay tuition and transportation for those who choose to transfer to adjacent, accredited districts. It also requires that those districts accept the transfers. That law applies even to district residents who attend private or charter schools.
According to the new policy, Kansas City has agreed to pay, but only if students have been enrolled in Kansas City Public Schools at least two semesters, and only if they're going to Independence, Center, Raytown or North Kansas City.
Outside of Troost Elementary School, parent Kanisha Griffin says she's considering a transfer for her three children.
"If the Kansas City School District can't get it together, why make the kids suffer for years to try and better themselves," Griffin says.
No district has a handle on how many parents will seek transfers. Independence superintendent Jim Hinson says his district has received hundreds of calls.
"How many we could really absorb is going to be dependent on the grade level of the students," Hinson says. "Are we going to see an influx of elementary? Or is it going to be middle or high school? We are already beyond capacity in elementary school."
Kansas City officials say they'll pay tuition on a monthly basis, but most area district require non-resident tuition to be paid up-front.
A similar situation in the St. Louis has become tied up in state court – a decision is expected in March. Meanwhile, lawmakers are working on a possible revision to the transfer law.