Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mass school closures approved in Kansas City, Mo.

Anyone who thinks more money poured into an existing, broken school system will improve it need look no further than Kansas City to disprove this thought.  I've never heard of anything like this – closing 46% of the city's schools in one fell swoop (though interestingly only laying off 23% of the jobs – hmmm….):

Facing potential bankruptcy, the board that governs the once flush-with-cash Kansas City school district is taking the unusual and contentious step of shuttering almost half its schools.

Administrators say the closures are necessary to keep the district from plowing through what little is left of the $2 billion it received as part of a groundbreaking desegregation case.

…Once the district had enough desegregation money to build such amenities as an Olympic-sized swimming pool. But the effort to use upscale facilities and programs to lure in students from the suburbs never worked quite as planned.

Covington has stressed that the district's buildings are only half-full as its population has plummeted amid political squabbling and chronically abysmal test scores. The district's enrollment of fewer than 18,000 students is about half of what the schools had a decade ago and just a quarter of its peak in the late 1960s.

Many students have left for publicly funded charter schools, private and parochial schools and the suburbs. The school district also isn't the only one serving students in Kansas City; several smaller ones operate in the city's boundaries.


Mass school closures approved in Kansas City, Mo.

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