In case you were wondering how the Kansas City Missouri School District (KCMO School District) accreditation issues impact Platte County, don't worry-they don't thanks to geography.
Even though the term "Kansas City schools" gives one the impression that everyone in Kansas City has to attend the Kansas City School District, that isn't the case. Kansas City residents in Platte County have multiple options for their children when choosing to live in Platte County.
The issues with KCMO School District accreditation could potentially impact all school districts in Clay, Cass, Lafayette, Johnson, and Ray Counties and the courts and attorneys are sorting this all out.
Park Hill patrons are insulated from the Turner v. School District of Clayton decision because Platte County does not border Jackson County. Valerie Verkamp with the Platte County Landmark had a good write up on this two years ago which she stated:
"Pursuant to RSMo. § 167.131, a board of education that does not maintain its accreditation must pay the tuition and transportation for each student who attends an accredited school in another district of the same or an adjoining county.
The statute further states, the amount of tuition to be charged is the per student cost of maintaining the district's grade level grouping. The board of education must determine this cost, but the amount should not exceed the total spent for teachers' wages, incidental purposes, debt service, maintenance, and replacements.
According to Dr. Miles, given that the boundary lines of both Platte County and Jackson County, the Park Hill School District will not serve as an option to students seeking an accredited school district."
Platte County doesn't adjoin Jackson County so any issues with accreditation and the courts won't impact the Park Hill School District. The Platte County School District also covers a lot of Kansas City, Missouri residents and would not be impacted by a sudden influx of transfer students.
When looking at Kansas City schools in Platte County, you can find a map of all the school districts in the county courtesy of the Platte County Planning and Zoning Department and the GIS team. I zoomed into the Kansas City portion of the county below.
So the bottom line is even though Jackson County is less than two miles away, thanks to state law, we don't have to worry about transfers overloading our facilities, tuition and transportation costs, and attorney fees sorting it all out.
It'd be nice if families in unaccredited districts had a way out of them or some way to get a quality education without having to move so that they could better their kids future job opportunities. No matter how you want to look at it or spin it, schools are a big determining factor where people want to live. Without strong schools, it is very hard to maintain property values and population. It's hard to build a community without gathering places and historically schools have been a great way to build community. This is why school consolidation is often fought in rural areas and is difficult to do because once a town loses its school, it often loses its identity.
A child's future and learning should not be determined by the location of their home. Unfortunately, that's the case in America today.
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