Wed November 30, 2011
Rescue Plans Abound For KC Schools
By Dan Verbeck
Kansas City, MO – A diverse collection of forces are working alone or in concert to help the soon-to-be- accreditation-stripped Kansas City School District. One high profile group of minority leaders is asking Missouri's Education Commissioner to immediately appoint a panel to take over the District. Mayor Sly James has convened his own forum that includes neighboring schools.
The breaking developments come just days before the state education board meets and the local district is on the agenda.
Missouri's Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro is reportedly refining her recommendations to be given the state board the end of this week for watching over or operating schools.
Mayor James called together political and education leaders from other districts trying to devise a plan that cements rather than splits efforts. Its believed Nicastro will be asked for more time to allow a community effort to gel.
Nicastro's spokesperson, Michele Clark, said the Commissioner has been in close contact with the Mayor's group of educators and lawmakers.
The Missouri Board of Education meets Thursday and Friday in Branson. It expects a report from Nicastro on the Kansas City District. The Kansas City Business Journal reports Nicastro's proposal will fit what happpens in Kansas City to a statewide plan allowing Missouri to opt out of No Child Left Behind.
On Monday, some members of the Urban Summit asked that a panel made up of four African Americans and one Hispanic take over schools. The Reverend James Tindall's name was on the letter. He says, "the state has already said they are going to appoint a special advisory board, and they're asking for participation."
Some members of the current elected school board, Joseph Jackson among them, bristle at the idea of a takeover and a legal challenge is expected if there is one.
(KMBC-TV contributed Tindall's commentary in this story)