‘The right direction’: State board restores full accreditation for KCK Public Schools

The Kansas Board of Education has granted full accreditation to Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, restoring the designation based on the district’s latest plan to meet state academic benchmarks.

Last year the state put the district on conditional accreditation. It meant the district remained in good standing, but state officials were unconvinced of evidence in student performance growth.

Reasons listed at the time included “substantially” lower-than-average scores on assessment tests, including in English and science. Also cited was the district’s graduation rate, which had trended up to 73% but dipped to 69% in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to its process, the state reviewed within one year the status of KCKPS and all other districts placed on conditional accreditation.

In February, the Accreditation Review Council, an arm of the Kansas Department of Education, determined KCKPS should be brought back in line with full accreditation because the district’s plan met state standards.

State board members approved the recommendation Tuesday, roughly seven months after it gave KCKPSconditional accreditation. The school district had been fully accredited before then.

Nearly 23,000 students are enrolled at KCKPS. It is the largest district in Wyandotte County and among the biggest in the Kansas City metro.

The school district’s accreditation status has been a talking point among critics of an upcoming special election May 7. On the ballot is whether a $420 million bond will be issued to pay for additions to and entire rebuilds of several schools, as well as a new aquatic center and library.

Superintendent Anna Stubblefield said Friday the district is moving forward with the restored designation.

“We are continuing to make progress in all of those areas that we need to make progress in, and our data continues to trend in the right direction,” she said.

The Star’s Sarah Ritter contributed to this report.