The depiction of city schools as “among the worst in the nation” by the US Education Secretary and Kansas City’s mayor made bold headlines but slipped quietly aside as the mayor briefed the City Council today.
The district lost accreditation on January 1st.
Mayor Sly James assessed the school district in the negatives after meeting in Washington with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The mayor said Duncan encouraged him to continue with his plan to replace the school board. And Thursday, with City Council members, the mayor dove into his proposal to personally direct operation of the District, cautioning that politics must stay clear.
Hizzoner the Mayor deflected suggestions from Councilman Russ Johnson of a public perception that the Mayor would take over the schools in a coup.
James said the most pressing issue is two bills in the Missouri Statehouse that would disband the district.
The mayor described his counteroffensive--“we’re drafting legislation that would stop it, or that would certainly offer another alternative. And it will at least cause the discussion in the legislature to be a little bit more balanced than simply how best to split the district.”
Proposals are expected next week in the state legislature to allow a mayoral operation of the schools, replacing the elected school board.