KCMO School District Looking for Input Over African-Centered Academy

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Missouri School District is proceeding with its plan to take control of the former Afrikan Centered Education (ACE) Campus , and is inviting the community to help planning the course of the former charter school.

The meetings for what is now called the African-Centered College Preparatory Academy are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday at the Paseo Academy of the Fine and Performing Arts, 4747 Flora Ave.

According to the district, participants will learn about the curriculum, participate in focus groups where they will give direct input and share ideas about the school, including enrollment requirements, school uniforms, and the school name. Parents will also have the chance to obtain information about the search for the school`s leadership and apply to become an advisory board member.

The district moved to take over the ACE program directly after allegations of financial mismanagement involving $8 million in taxpayer money. KCMOSD Superintendent Stephen Green told reporters in March that the issue boils down to accountability and responsibility, saying that he’s concerned that ACE has not properly documented how it spent the $8 million in taxpayer money, and says that during court proceedings against the school, ACE officials refused to disclose salary information about its top administrators – all of whom are paid with taxpayer money.

In addition, Green said that a state audit found that ACE faild to submit 2009 and 2010 quarterly financial reports, and that it did not document how it spent $150,000 given to the school for its pre-kindergarten program.

ACE officials responded in March by saying that they have accounted for the money in two separate independent audits, and that the takeover by the district did not have the support of parents.

“We believe that this is a unwanted and unjustified hostile takeover by the Kansas City Missouri School District, which is unaccredited,” said Ajamu Webster, ACE Campus board chairman, in March. “We know the last time the school district took over a community based program that was geared toward community achievement, that was Southwest Early College. The district quickly, within a year, turned it into an educational crime scene.”

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