KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After public criticism, Kansas City Public Schools is now only recommending to close two school buildings instead of 10.
The district shared changes to its Blueprint 2030 plan with the board at a meeting Wednesday night.
KCPS said 35 of its 37 currently operating schools are now recommended to stay open. But two schools — Longfellow and Troost elementary schools — are recommended to close or be converted next school year.
The district also doesn’t have any plans to build or open any new schools at this time.
“Closures are necessary. I wish it were not true. It doesn’t feel good to say that, and I wish it were not true, but it is true given our current reality,” Dr. Jennifer Collier, KCPS interim superintendent, said.
The original plan included closing 10 schools across the district by the year 2026, including eight elementary schools and two high schools.
But at a series of community sessions, parents, students, and alumni vocally opposed closing many of the buildings on the list. One of the meetings even led to a shouting match.
Due to public feedback, the school district decided to delay voting on the plan and instead revised certain areas. The district said the closure changes are based on significant input since the original recommendations were released.
Located near 28th and Cherry streets, Longfellow Elementary was built in the 1890s and renovated in 1958, according to the district’s website. It has also previously served as a performing arts school.
“Longfellow Elementary stands by its mission of welcoming diversity and educating students with a technological and innovative curriculum,” the school’s website reads.
Troost Elementary, located near 56th Street and Tracy Avenue, was built in 1923 to replace a smaller school one block away, according to the district. It saw a renovation in 1986, and two years later the district purchased several nearby homes to expand the school.
Now that the board has heard the recommendations, the district said it will communicate additional information with families.
There were no opportunities for public comment on the changes Wednesday night. The public can voice their opinions at the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting on Jan. 25 when the vote will also take place on the revised closures plan.
“It’s gratifying in certain ways to delay this decision and try to go about things a little bit differently. That’s the best part. We’re still not off the chopping block, I consider it more of a reprieve,” Central High graduate Emanuel Seals said.
And although the other eight schools on the original list have been spared, it appears more closures could still be on the table.
In its presentation Wednesday, the district said it will also pursue a general obligation (GO) bond in spring 2024.
After more community engagement and the bond vote, KC Public Schools will revisit other facility discussions, the district said.