KCPS to cover local aid shortfall to charter schools.

The Kansas City Public School District has agreed to pay the Kansas City charter public schools for a shortfall created by the state's charter school funding formula. Funding for public school students is a complicated mix of calculating attendance numbers, along with allocating federal, state, and local dollars. While federal and state monies are equally distributed, a state funding distribution process to pay charter schools their equivalency of local dollars broke down in July 2019 creating a shortfall for every charter public school student in Kansas City.

In 2007, a law passed streamlining how Missouri distributed funds to Kansas City’s charter public schools. Rather than requiring KCPS to calculate and distribute local dollars, the legislature opted to allocate charter public schools state funding covering both state and the equivalency of local aid charter public school students are entitled to receive. Missouri recuperated the equivalency of the local dollars by reducing the amount of state money paid to the local school district. However, over time, as parents’ demand for charter schools has increased, in July 2019 the state reached a point of no longer having the state funding to provide the charter public school students in Kansas City 100% of the equivalent local dollars owed, creating a funding gap.

Acknowledging that the amount of money paid by the state no longer adequately compensated charter public school students for the amount of local dollars KCPS receives intended for the education of charter public school students, the district signed a memorandum of understanding bridging the funding gap and paying the charter public schools the gap in local revenue their students should receive.

"The agreement between KCPS and the charter public schools is clearly in the best interest of Kansas City's public school children," said Douglas Thaman, Executive Director of The Missouri Charter Public School Association (MCPSA). "The fact that the District and the Charters worked together to arrive at a solution demonstrates a new spirit of cooperation where children are at the center of decisions impacting their education. Every public school student in Kansas City has a right to have their education equitably funded and this was one major step in the right direction.”

Charnissa Holliday-Scott, Kansas City Public School District's Director of Educational Systems and an MCPSA Board member said, "The vote by the KCPS Board of Directors demonstrates a continued commitment to collaboration with the Kansas City charter schools to ensure all students are properly served across our public education system. Through the Collaboration Council, a group comprised of KCPS and charter school leaders, we will continue to work together to address local and civic concerns and system inefficiencies to create a healthier public education system."

Charter public schools will receive an estimated $2,163,855.00 in local dollars. The payments will be made in three equal disbursements, with the final payment arriving in June of 2020. In addition, KCPS and the Kansas City charter public schools have been working together toward a legislative solution that would bring true funding equity to all public school students in Kansas City and Missouri.