KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A meeting about the future blueprint for Kansas City Public Schools descended into a shouting match Monday night.
The district said Blueprint 2030 would add new programs and improve the student experience in the long run. But it also calls for closing 10 schools.
Kansas City Public Schools is facing dwindling enrollment. District leaders think that’s due in part to programs they can’t afford to offer that neighboring schools can.
Working with MGT Consulting Group they’ve come up with that plan that involves shutting down 10 of its 37 schools over the next four years.
But at its first public forum, the district faced plenty of questions.
“Who are these people who are writing all these things to be the change for this school, and what did the guy say we don’t know?” Richard Cushon said after a school district administrator told the crowd he didn’t know what MGT stood for.
“How do you guys have outsiders come in that don’t have any idea of the racial dynamics, the economic dynamics, you have no clue,” one woman shouted.
As the shouting continued, the interim superintendent proposed shutting down the meeting.
“You are taking recommendations from some company, and you don’t even know what they stand for, what does it stand for?” another man shouted.
“If this is not going to be productive, we can just end here,” Interim KCPS Superintendent Jennifer Collier responded.
The first four schools proposed for closure or repurposing are Troost Elementary, Longfellow Elementary, James Elementary and the district’s newest high school building, Central High.
“We’re not attached to a building. We are attached to a community,” another man yelled.
“I get it. We’re mad and yelling right now, but help me understand what is the plan if we do nothing?” Collier responded.
That plan also calls for closing or repurposing Whittier, Wheatley and King elementaries in 2024 and Northeast High and Faxon and Melcher elementaries in 2026.
Community leader Pat Clark stepped in helping to calm tensions, saying he realizes the financial struggles the district is facing as it tries to improve, but worries about implications of any decisions to close schools.
“If you think we’re short of kids in this school now, just imagine what’s going to happen later,” Clark said.
Though a lot of people at the meeting seem to think otherwise, the school district did it best to stress no final decisions on closures have been made. Many more forums are planned with that final vote expected to come in December.
📲 Download the FOX4 News app to stay updated on the go.
📧 Sign up for FOX4 email alerts to have breaking news sent to your inbox.
💻 Find today’s top stories on fox4kc.com for Kansas City and all of Kansas and Missouri.