KCPS leaders, legislators to meet, discuss private education group's reform recommendations

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A private education reform group is preparing to release its recommendations for turning around Missouri's unaccredited school systems, even as debate continues over whether the consultant was appropriately awarded the contract.

The Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust, or CEE-Trust, has been hired to come up with ideas that could be implemented in the Kansas City school district and potentially also in Normandy, Riverview Gardens or any other districts that become unaccredited. The Indianapolis firm will release its draft recommendations Monday to the State Board of Education.

Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro has been criticized by some teachers' unions, Democratic lawmakers and MORE2 for the way the consulting contract was awarded. One of the main complaints is that CEE-Trust's bid was nearly three times higher than the closest competitor.

MORE2 executive director Lora mcconald says they want the state to table the study until contract questions are answered. She's headed to Jefferson City Monday morning.

"We believe that the bid process that allowed Cee-Trust to have the contract is very questionable at best; and we know that it's being investigated right now," said McDonald.

McDonald believes the proposal will support expanding charter schools in unaccredited districts; which would further strain KCPS.

And she's not alone. David Gerth is from St. Louis. He's watching Missouri's unaccredited school districts closely. The St. Louis based Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts have lost more than 2,000 students since their transfers began this school year.

"The problem with that is the districts then are paying full fare plus transportation at a higher rate

Normandy School District is on the verge of bankruptcy because they are spending millions of dollars to send the kids away from the district," Gerth said.

As the debate continues in Jefferson City over the future of Missouri's unaccredited districts; the only thing that seems inevitable is change.

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