JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri education officials revoked the accreditation of the Kansas City School District on Tuesday after it failed for several years to meet most of the state's academic performance standards, an embarrassing blow to the beleaguered district that is again trying to find a superintendent.
The decision by the Missouri State Board of Education means the district has two years to improve and regain accreditation or else possibly face a state takeover.
In the most recent review, the district met just three of the state's 14 performance standards — those covering advanced courses, career education courses and career education placement. It failed to meet standards in areas such as math and communication arts, graduation rates and college placement.
For provisional accreditation, districts need to meet at least six performance standards. Full accreditation requires meeting nine standards.
Under Missouri law, a district that loses its accreditation is given two additional school years to make improvements. That means the soonest the state could take over the Kansas City district and appoint its own administrative board would be June 30, 2014.
The state decision on accreditation comes less than a month after John Covington abruptly resigned as superintendent to take a job leading a Michigan agency overseeing the poorest-performing schools in that state. While in Kansas City, Covington oversaw the closure of nearly half the district's schools.
The Kansas City district has since chosen an interim superintendent, R. Stephen Green, who most recently served as president and chief executive of Kauffman Scholars Inc. The program provides intensive tutoring and life-skills to Kansas City-area youths from middle school through college.
Before state education officials met Tuesday, the Kansas City School District announced it would hold town hall meetings Wednesday and Thursday for officials to explain the effect of the accreditation decision. In a document about the accreditation process posted on the district's website before the state board meeting, the district said local officials would continue working to implement a plan for improving the education of students.
In 2007, the state board voted to eliminate the accreditation of the public schools in St. Louis. The city's schools have been overseen by a three-member transitional board.
While voting Tuesday to strip the accreditation of the Kansas City School District, the state education board also decided to label the rural Calhoun and Swedeborg districts as "provisionally accredited", a downgrade to their accreditation.
The Calhoun district in Henry County has about 160 students in kindergarten through high school. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says the district's academic performance has slipped significantly since 2007.
The Swedeborg district in Pulaski County has fewer than 50 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The state says it met none of the state's academic thresholds on standardized tests.
The news was better for the Charleston School District in southeast Missouri. It regained its accreditation Tuesday after previously being provisionally accredited.