With falling enrollment, Kansas City Public Schools considers changes

With falling enrollment, Kansas City Public Schools considers changes
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The Kansas City, Missouri, School District is looking at possible changes as enrollment continues to fall.There are a lot of ideas on the table from moving sixth-graders into middle schools and rethinking school schedules. The superintendent said a decision has not been made on whether to close schools.”Once again, Blueprint 2030 is about the experiences we want our kids to have as they matriculate through our system pre-K through 12, so things have to change,” said Dr. Mark Bedell, superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools.Among possible changes, consolidation of schools with low enrollment in Kansas City. Bedell said that it is an option that could improve access to elective and extracurricular programs.Priorities that came from conversations with students and staff across the district.”We have to take a look at some of these facilities that have low ratings and make a determination is it worth making further investments in those facilities if the ratings are so low and the expense of those facilities hurt us in terms of the experiences we want to offer for kids,” Bedell said.Dr. Cokethea Hill was on the school board when the district closed several schools in a right-sizing process a decade ago. She voted against it.”I would like to see that conversation pause around which buildings to close until we really have a deep conversation about student achievement,” Hill said.She said she is also concerned about the economic impac.”If we continue to blight communities, and close schools and families continue to continue to leave the urban core, that reduces the overall income that will become a revenue that will be coming into the district,” Hill said.The school board will explore the feedback in a workshop next month, with a vote expected in February. Bedell said the timeline could change based on the feedback they get from the community.

The Kansas City, Missouri, School District is looking at possible changes as enrollment continues to fall.

There are a lot of ideas on the table from moving sixth-graders into middle schools and rethinking school schedules.

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The superintendent said a decision has not been made on whether to close schools.

“Once again, Blueprint 2030 is about the experiences we want our kids to have as they matriculate through our system pre-K through 12, so things have to change,” said Dr. Mark Bedell, superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools.

Among possible changes, consolidation of schools with low enrollment in Kansas City. Bedell said that it is an option that could improve access to elective and extracurricular programs.

Priorities that came from conversations with students and staff across the district.

“We have to take a look at some of these facilities that have low ratings and make a determination is it worth making further investments in those facilities if the ratings are so low and the expense of those facilities hurt us in terms of the experiences we want to offer for kids,” Bedell said.

Dr. Cokethea Hill was on the school board when the district closed several schools in a right-sizing process a decade ago. She voted against it.

“I would like to see that conversation pause around which buildings to close until we really have a deep conversation about student achievement,” Hill said.

She said she is also concerned about the economic impac.

“If we continue to blight communities, and close schools and families continue to continue to leave the urban core, that reduces the overall income that will become a revenue that will be coming into the district,” Hill said.

The school board will explore the feedback in a workshop next month, with a vote expected in February. Bedell said the timeline could change based on the feedback they get from the community.

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