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Missouri Ed. Commissioner Asks KCMO School Board To Vote Itself Away

By Sylvia Maria Gross


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A proposal to eliminate the Kansas City Missouri school board won't be on the agenda at tomorrow's board meeting. But the state education commissioner has asked board members to replace themselves with a state appointed board, or risk a takeover in January.

When the school district lost accreditation in September, Commissioner Chris Nicastro said it would have until June, 2014 to make improvements before a takeover would be considered. But in a closed meeting last week, Nicastro proposed a resolution that would eliminate the elected board. School board president Airick Leonard West said the board won't discuss the proposal until it's accompanied by a plan for student achievement.

"Absent a plan, I don't even know that there's a responsible conversation to be had," West said. "And we have to know that we're taking step forward that give us a reasonable chance of restoring achievement for our scholars."

The state took over the St. Louis district in 2007, and it has yet to regain accreditation.

State officials have worked closely with Kansas City on its turnaround plan since 2008, but Commissioner Nicastro said in September that she was disappointed in the district's progress. Test scores went down slightly last year.

Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.
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