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Hickman Mills hires consultants to help decide which schools to close

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Hickman Mills School District took the first steps toward closing some schools Thursday night.

The district is facing a budget shortfall and declining enrollment. Student enrollment is down 2,000 students over the past 30 years and is expected to decrease by another 1,000 over the next 10 years.

That affects the money the district gets from the state. It's also left schools with a lot of empty desks and classrooms.

As a result, on Thursday the school board voted to pay MGT Consulting Group $32,765 to help figure out which schools to close.

“We’re excited now to be able to now work with experts who have done this and worked with other districts in the area to look at how we utilize our facilities,"  Hickman Mills Superintendent Dr. Yolanda Cargile said.

Hickman Mills also lost $2.4 million because of some tax confusion with Cerner and is now trying to shave $5.5 million from its budget next year.

One idea is to reconfigure grades, putting kindergartners in elementary schools, sixth-graders in middle schools and freshman in high school.

Hickman Mills will host a forum called Shaping Our Future for parents Jan. 30 at Ruskin High School. A vote on the still to be determined consolidation plan is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 21.

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