The Kansas State Board of Education has decided to continue studying a plan that would exempt two school districts from many state regulations. The Concordia and McPherson districts are seeking approval to become so-called "innovative school districts." Board members considered approving the applications today (TUE), but instead decided to form a committee that will meet with district officials to evaluate the applications. Board Chairwoman Jana (JANN-uh) Shaver raised concerns about some implications of the exemptions.
Some board members are worried that approving the exemptions may conflict with the board’s constitutional mandate to oversee education in Kansas. The board must make a decision to approve or deny the requests next month.
The Kansas State Board of Education has decided to continue studying a plan to exempt two school districts from many state regulations. The idea is that exempting schools from regulations may give them more flexibility and lead to better student outcomes. The McPherson and Concordia districts are the first two seeking approval to become so-called "innovative districts." KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports.
The board decided to form a study committee to meet with officials from the districts and look into some issues raised by board members. One concern is that the board may be asked to exempt districts from federal requirements, which they likely can’t do. Janet Waugh is a board member from Kansas City, Kansas.
“I cannot personally risk federal funding to these two districts, or the innovative districts or the whole state,” says Waugh.
There are also concerns that approving the exemptions may conflict with the board’s constitutional mandate to oversee education in Kansas.
Board member Steve Roberts, from Overland Park, is not in favor of the delay.
“We should go ahead and take, dare I say, a leap of faith that the first two districts have gone through several measures to this point and have met initial tests to become innovative,” says Roberts.
The deadline for the board to approve or deny the applications is next month.