KCPS votes to close Wendell Phillips Elementary School

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Changes are coming to the Kansas City Public School District and one big change doesn’t make the grade with some families.

During Wednesday's meeting, the school board voted to close Satchel Paige Elementary School and Southwest Early College Campus, and relocate Wendell Phillips Elementary School to Crispus Attucks Elementary campus, which is about a half-mile down the street. The changes will be phased in over the years, but the closures and boundary charges start this fall.

KCPS says they will be contacting parents individually to address how the changes will impact their children.

Those opposed to Wendell Phillips' closure say the school is one of the highest performing schools in the area, but Ray Weikal with KCPS says the decision to relocate students was based on moving students to a better facility and a more centralized location for families. Weikal added that it was not effective to have so many neighborhood elementary schools in the area.

"And I'm just not happy about the decision," Wendell Phillips parent Shauntae Hawkins said. "My kids are actually bothered by it because they are nervous about going to another school, and they are comfortable with their settings and teachers here."

The overall plan will affect nearly 15 percent of the students living in the district.

The $8-million plan, which took school administrators two-years to develop, will add a lot of things including bus services for students to participate in after school activities.

The district is expected to turn the Wendell Phillips building into a district sponsored charter school, Kansas City Neighborhood Academy, which is expected to open in the Fall of 2016.

Parents and guardians can visit http://www.kcpublicschools.org/FindYourSchool to check which school their children will attend under the Master Plan based on their current addresses. Parents and guardians can also contact the KCPS Master Plan Hotline by calling 816-418-8825 (open noon to 6:00 p.m. Feb. 25; 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Feb. 26; and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Feb. 29-March 4) or emailing masterplan@kcpublicschools.org.