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Lawyer Ready to Challenge School Secession

By Steve Bell and Lee Ingalls


Kansas City, MO – Jackson County election officials are validating signatures on a petition drive aimed at moving for seven Kansas City Missouri schools to the Independence School District.

On Monday, supporters of the move filed roughly 10 thousand signiatures. Under a new state law, if 2700 of them are valid, the issue will appear on the November ballot in Kansas City and Independence. But it probably won't happen without a fight. Arthur Benson, is a longtime attorney for the plaintiffs in a Kansas City school desegregation suit. He says he's ready to go to court again.

Benson says the overall effect of a reaffiliation would be to move a significant number of white students out of the Kansas City district. He says for the state to create the mechanism for such a segregative move is a violation of Amendment 14 of the U.S. Constitution.

State Senator Victor Callahan, who sponsored the new law says whatever racial redistribution would happen is irrelevant. Callahan said, "I think the Kansas City School District, quite frankly, will be better off with the change."

Jackson County election officials hope to complete the signature validation process by the end of the week.

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