No one appeared at a Jefferson City hearing today to testify against a bill that would speed Missouri's ability to take some charge of unaccredited Kansas City schools. There was support from a teachers’ association and the Missouri School Boards’ Association.
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 Kansas City, Missouri school district has been shedding students over the past 40 years – from 70,000 in the 1970s to less than 17,000 today. Some are worried about another exodus when the district officially loses accreditation on January 1st. Missouri law allows students to transfer to an accredited district, with tuition and transportation paid for by the unaccredited district. Area districts are still wrangling with transfer policies.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James and School Board President Airick Leonard West committed to a series of community conversations over the next few months about the governance of the school district. Neither has endorsed the idea of a mayoral takeover of schools, but they say no idea is off the table.
Mayor James says he began convening people to talk about the school district after Missouri education commissioner Chris Nicastro told him that it was difficult to do anything in Kansas City because it's so divided.
Kansas City, Mo. – Dramatic change came to the Kansas City, Missouri school district this week. After months of research and community meetings, the school board voted 5 to 4 to close 26 schools. It was a harrowing vote for all the school board members, and more than 40 years of Kansas City's history with its school district came up in the final public discussion.
Kansas City, Mo. – Last night, the Kansas City Missouri school board narrowly approved the plan to close 26 schools, and district headquarters. More than 200 parents and community members turned out for an emotional meeting.
Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City, Missouri's school board is facing the unenviable decision of having to close a significant number of the district's schools. But amid the downsizing, there's a surprising number of candidates running for the board in April's election. Ten candidates are vying for five seats in April's school board election. Two of the races, for the second and sixth sub-districts, have only one candidate each. But it's still a far cry from the past two elections, when none of the seats were contested.