Lincoln Middle School reopening relieves burdens felt by Kansas - KCTV5

Lincoln Middle School reopening relieves burdens felt by Kansas City Public Schools

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Lincoln Middle School, could seat more than 500 middle school students and about 1,000 high school students and will open for the 2019-2020 school year. (KCTV5) Lincoln Middle School, could seat more than 500 middle school students and about 1,000 high school students and will open for the 2019-2020 school year. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

In 2010, nearly half of the schools in the Kansas City Public School system closed down or consolidated in a process to “right size” the district.

The decision sent shockwaves through the city and the country. But as more people move their students back into the district, more schools are being reopened. The latest to get the nod is Lincoln Middle School.

Lincoln College Preparatory Academy has held both middle and high school students since the right sizing effort began and the middle school closed its doors in 2010.

Now, as more parents attempt to enroll their students into the school, it’s an entirely different ball game.

“There's a need for more seats, we had over 104 students on the waiting list this school year, especially in grades seven and nine,” Lincoln College Prep Principal Kristian Foster said. “Opening up the middle school would allow us to provide for the kids who meet the qualifications to attend Lincoln.”

In addition to opening up the school to more students that qualify, it will help ease some of the burdens faced by schools since the rapid closure, particularly with overcrowded classrooms.

“We literally don't have one single open classroom in our whole building,” Foster said.

Foster says the recommended student to teacher ratio at a school like Lincoln that has an IB program is 24:1, instead they sit somewhere between 28 and 33:1, even having some classes with more than 40 students inside.

The issue isn’t just being seen at Lincoln either. KCPS Superintendent, Dr. Mark Bedell, says the numbers are up across the district.

“We are about 300 kids, 320 kids or so above what our actual projected numbers are, so that's a sign we're not taking as big of a hit as we have in the past with the number of kids that aren't enrolling or are deciding to go elsewhere,” Bedell said.

Earlier in November, the district made the decision to begin the process to reopen Lincoln Middle and Bedell says he also has his eyes set on other schools in the district. He says the improved numbers are proof that people are warming back up to the district.

“There is this sense of confidence that's being restored,” Bedell said, “We've come here and we've provided nothing but transparency about where we are.”

Bedell hopes the trend of confidence will continue in the years to come. He also says, as people come back, it will help in their efforts to change the perception some have had for years about the district.

“We're turning kids away, we have continuously been at a position where our enrollment has been declining and we have an opportunity here to leverage an area of strength,” Bedell said, “That will allow for us to continue to build up our school system from an enrollment standpoint, also an academic, performance standpoint.”

Previous coverageBoard of education votes to reopen Lincoln Middle School

Lincoln Middle School could seat more than 500 middle school students and about 1,000 high school students. It will open for the 2019-2020 school year.

The Kansas City Public Schools Board of Education voted 6-2 in favor of reopening the school. 

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