KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Public Schools may be giving up on its Southwest Early College Campus. It's partnering with the Academie Lafayette charter school to take over.
Current seventh graders at Southwest will be able to apply for admissions. All other students will have to go elsewhere. The new school, run by Academie Lafayette, will start with ninth grade in the 2015/16 school year and build up.
It`s an opportunity to reinvent Southwest High School, which has recently been plagued with problems.
A 14-year-old boy was charged with repeatedly raping a 14-year-old girl at the Southwest Early College campus in April, and a 13-year-old girl has also been charged because prosecutors say she was the lookout. Several staff members were put on leave after the incident.
David Kozad, president of the Academie Lafayette’s board of directors says those old problems will not come along to the new school.
“When you start a new school, you create school culture and safety will be a prominent part of what we focus on,” Kozad said.
Parent Chris Scranton has three Academie Lafayette students. She says her daughter, who is now in sixth grade, will go to the new high school. Scranton believes this partnership will be good for the whole community.
“I feel confident that Academie Lafayette would not put the kids in a situation that was a risky situation,” she said. “It actually makes me happy because I feel some issues could be settled at Southwest and yes, I would feel safe because I don`t think they would do anything to put the kids at risk.”
Kozad says safety will be a top priority.
“You don`t run a school unless you think it can be safe. That`s first, job one,” he said.
There will be a 50/50 investment of capital from KCPS and Academie Lafayette to improve Southwest. The teachers will have their jobs through the upcoming school year and then have first crack at openings other places within the KCPS system.