Kansas City Public Schools Narrow Superintendent Search

Dec 15, 2015

KCPS Interim Superintendent Al Tunis and board chair Jon Hile at the November board meeting where a new master plan was discussed. The board has narrowed its search for a new
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR

The Kansas City Public School District has narrowed its list of superintendent candidates and we may find out more about the search at Wednesday's meeting.

Board Chairman Jon Hile would not say exactly how many finalists are in the running but many believe there are only two – and current interim Superintendent Al Tunis is not among them. Both candidates are believed to be from out of town.

The Kansas City Star reported that the names will be released at the Wednesday board meeting, but right now that does not look likely, although Hile says there’s still a chance we will learn who they are.

Hile does say that some details of the search will be discussed by the board, including when the community will be invited to meet the finalists.

All this comes while the board wrestles with writing a new master plan that calls for closing three schools, including Southwest Early College Campus and two elementary schools, Crispus Attucks on Prospect Avenue and Satchel Paige on East 75th Street.

Hile says these two major board tasks — hiring a new superintendent and approving a new master plan — are not necessarily tied together. "We look at those as being on two separate tracks," he says.

The administration wanted a new master plan approved by next month so the schools could be closed before next school year. But at November meeting the board balked at that timeline and slowed the whole process down. Most in the district believe it will be impossible to close any school before the 2016-2017 school year.

Sam Zeff covers education for KCUR. He's also co-host of KCUR's political podcast Statehouse Blend. Follow him on Twitter @samzeff.