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Tue March 28, 2006
Seven Schools Seek to Secede
By Steve Bell
Kansas City, MO – State Senator Victor Callahan says it was a grassroots movement in his district that led him to introduce Senate Bill 602, which would allow the change upon approval by the Independence district and voters in the area served by the seven schools.
Arthur Benson, long-time attorney for the plaintiffs in the original desegregation lawsuit says changing voting boundaries to allow seven schools with 50% white enrollments to secede from a district would violate the law. Benson says he has two plaintiffs ready and waiting to file a new desegregation suit.
Residents in the Independence/Sugar Creek area served by the schools complain of frequent changes of K.C. superintendents, provisional accreditation, stagnant property values, concerns about discipline and school board unresponsiveness.
Several legislators oppose Callahan's bill due to a provision under which the state would have to compensate the Kansas City district for the school buildings involved and because with fewer students, Kansas City's schools would get less state money.