Tensions run high at meeting over KCPS Blueprint 2030 plan

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Emotions reached a boiling point during a meeting Monday to discuss the Kansas City Public Schools Blueprint 2030 plan.

“Don’t play games with baby boomers and everyone else in this room,” shouted one attendee at the front of the room at the Southeast Community Center Monday night.

The meeting turned into a town hall-style exchange with Kansas City public school leaders.

“What is our plan for our children in the future if we do nothing?” said Dr. Jennifer Collier, acting superintendent at KCPS.

The proposed plan, which would close or reallocate 10 schools in the districtis not final, but holds the attention of the community.

This includes parents whose children attend Wheatley Elementary, one of the buildings on this list.

“It’s going to be a transition. It’s going to be a good transition for them, it’s going to be a transition for the parents, for us,” said Ron Haynes, who picked up his children from Wheatley on Monday.

This proposed transition means a lot of movement.

“You have people who can walk – it’s not going to happen there, they’ll take the buses,” said Julius Smith, a crossing guard at Wheatley. “You have to pay for the buses, don’t you?”

One of the key schools on the list is Central High School, and if it closes, those students will come to Southeast High.

The schools are only 4.5 miles apart, but the idea of ​​going a longer distance didn’t sit well with many at Monday’s meeting.

“We are not attached to a building, we are attached to our community,” Paul Cosby said during the meeting.

Cosby knows what’s at stake because he was bussed to Southwest High when Manual High School closed in 1977.

“I’ve never been to Central, but I know how those kids are going to feel when they go through this transition if that happens,” Cosby said.

Pat Clarke, who also attended the meeting, attempted to diffuse the emotions during the meeting.

“Let them say what they have to say and then we’ll go from there,” he said.

He says he wants to hear the plan, but has a core fear.

“If Central were to shut down, again, it would hurt our community,” he said. “We’re talking about a major pain, as you’re ferrying inner city kids south to a school that more than likely won’t be welcome.”

There will be more meetings, open to a benevolent and concerned public.

“I care about the kids, I care about Kansas City, I care about the school district,” Cosby said.

About Rachel Gooch

Check Also

Guest essay: Professor Mark Collins asks what is the purpose of a school?

Editor’s note: Mark Collins is an Evanston resident who was also a longtime teacher at …