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Kansas City (Mo.) district reels back plan to close several schools

Jan. 12, 2023
The district administration's recommendation now calls for keeping Central High School open and closing only 2 elementary schools this year.

The Kansas City (Mo.) district has put forth a revised proposal that would reel back a plan to close 10 schools over several years.

The Kansas City Star reports that the district administration's new recommendation to the board calls for closing only two schools at this time. The previous proposal would have closed Central High School along with James, Longfellow and Troost elementary schools by next school year. By 2030, Northeast High School and several other elementary schools would have closed.

The district now is considering keeping Central and James open and closing Longfellow and Troost at the end of this school year. And the district will stall a decision on potential future school closures. Interim Superintendent Jennifer Collier said the district hopes enrollment will grow in the meantime, so that more schools can stay open.

The board is scheduled to vote later this month on the revised plan

Parents and alumni have expressed concern that the school closures would cause families to flee the district if the alternative is busing students to schools miles away.  Many graduates of Central High questioned why their school was recommended for closure after the building was reconstructed in the 1990s with a one-acre field house, theater, swimming pool and more modern classrooms.

Fewer than 500 students are enrolled at Central, which has a capacity of 1,140, and officials say enrollment is projected to continue declining over the next decade. Central also has about $14.4 million in deferred maintenance costs.

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