KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — Kansas City Public Schools could have fewer high schools in the future.
The goal is to offer more resources to students and one way of achieving that may be consolidating campuses.
KCPS is in the process of creating a new blueprint for the future. Their ever-evolving plan is called Blueprint 2030. Part of the future could mean closing some schools.
“The headline here isn’t that we’re closing schools, the headline is that we’re trying to make sure that our kids have access to all of the experiences that they need to have access to, to make sure that they can thrive and the city can thrive as well,” KCPS Board Chair Nate Hogan said.
The district’s goal is to ensure every KCPS student has equitable access to opportunities in arts, athletics, academics, and services. Hogan believes that, to offer everything in every school, consolidation may be necessary.
“If you look at our peer districts for example, whether it’s Blue Springs or Independence, they have two or three high schools and that’s it. We have seven for 14,500 or so kids,” Hogan said. “That’s not enough. You can’t have that few kids in a school and offer them everything that you want to offer them and everything they want to participate in.”
The majority of KCPS schools are under school size standards. Enrollment in the district has been on the decline for years now and students have already suffered because of it.
“For example, Southeast. We had to shut down the football program because we did not have enough kids to field a team. If you were a kid who really loves playing football, that helps you with your engagement, you want to be in school, it helps with your physical health, it helps with your social and emotional health, it helps with your academic performance. But, if you have 400 or if you were kids in a high school, I’m not going to have enough kids to put a football team together and go be competitive.” Hogan said.
Hogan also said the national teacher shortage plays a role in how the district can effectively serve students.
“There are fewer and fewer people going into the teaching profession. And if you have to spread already limited resources across a whole bunch of different facilities, it becomes very difficult for you to offer a kid everything that they want,” he said. “You want kids to be able to stay in the school and get any experience that they want within that one school.”
There’s not a timeline just yet on when any big changes could happen.
The district is the “goal setting” phase of their plan right now. Next would be presenting different scenarios to the community in which to meet the goals. Some of those scenarios will likely include consolidating schools.
The district is holding community engagement meetings starting Oct. 18 to get feedback from the parents, students, business owners, and anyone else in the district.
The community meetings are as follows:
- Oct. 18: Facebook Live session from noon to 1p.m.
Open house at Phillips Elementary School 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 19: Virtual meeting via Zoom in Spanish 5:30-6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 20: Open house at Central Middle School 5-7 p.m.
- Oct. 21: Virtual meeting via Zoom 5:30-6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 22: Open house at Hale Cook Elementary 9-10:30 a.m.