Kansas City Locals Defend, Mourn School Closings

The city's school district shuttered 26 schools

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Facing a $50 million budget shortfall, the Kansas City school board voted to close 26 schools. The sweeping move came down to a 5-4 decision Wednesday night. As a result, 40% of the district's buildings will be closed--including its downtown headquarters. The downsizing was spearheaded by Superintendent John Covington who dubs it the "Right Sizing Plan." Since its peak in the '60s, the district has become a shadow of itself. It currently has 18,000 students, the same size it had in 1889. On Kansas City Star comment boards, local Kansans have taken the opportunity to denounce the school district's offerings and offer solutions for the future.

  • A Necessary Move, writes RxBxtr: "Kudos to Superintendent Covington and boo's to those on the school board who voted no. They are either cynically posturing themselves politically for constituents who are too stubborn or too stupid to understand the situation or simply too stupid themselves to understand the dire straits of the district. the school district has the same enrollment it had in 1889."
  • A Terrible Decision, says Cris Mann, a special education teacher interviewed by the Kansas City Star. "I think it's an atrocity to cut education this badly. The idea that you have to destroy something in order to build it up -- that's like saying that you are going to go into Iraq, tear it down and expect peace."
  • Lots of Blame to Go Around, writes Liveinwaldo: "Bad teachers who are still around Good teachers who have left Inefficient administrative staff at the various schools - how many of us have walked into schools to see people acting unprofessionally and not working? Inefficient administrative staff at the school board. Are administrative staff paid more than teachers? Ineffective school board - perhaps we need to have a job description for school board members with a requirement to have some business experience and show them how to select qualified superintendents."
  • We Need to Get Our Budget In Order, writes englishteacher: "I have taught for almost 10 years and several of those in the KCMO School District at the high school level. The larger issue/question that no one is speaking about is how did the KCMO School district have so many finanical problems? Why are districts across the board having so many financial problems? Why are budgets being cut drastically? That is because the state doesn't have the money to give us any longer, they have spent our education budget."
  • This Move Makes a Lot of Sense, writes douggoy: "If you can get over the 'not my school in my neighborhood' and other knee jerk reactions, this seems like it makes sense. The paper states that the enrollment is the lowest it has been in 120 yrs. So if you don't have the supply of students you need to consolidate and shore up costs. Seems to me it will focus the limited resources to better serve the students and parents."
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