This is one of the hardest things I have written because I know that what is best for all, will hurt the sentiments of many. However, you all did not elect me to cower from big decisions and instead put your confidence in me to weigh all the information and make the best decision.
Well, I have studied Blueprint 2030’s goals, listened to community feedback for our schools and seen many different proposals over the last three years. Through this robust process, fully outlined at KCPS.org, I have learned that what makes our loftiest goals possible is the sacrifices creating greater efficiencies within our system.
For nearly 50 years KCPS has persevered without an Operating levy to support the weight of our beautifully, historic buildings. Our system once had five times the capacity of today’s students but due to the complex circumstances of educational times, there are now over 20 different educational systems within the boundaries of KCPS. This left our public school system fractured, with the student population of the city leaving many of our KCPS buildings with fewer and fewer students. Choice, turning towards unelected governing boards, sometimes corporately managed. While these challenges have ruined some public systems, like New Orleans post-Katrina, without elected governance or parental engagement; KCPS has chosen to fight for its very existence. School Boards of the last decade have had to make hard choices and determine how to regain full accreditation and to date, that promise has been fulfilled. Now, together we must decide what we want our school district to look like for the next generation.
I am excited for bands to continue to grow and electrify our packed stadiums, under the Friday night lights of a high school football game. I am excited for multiple certified teachers in classrooms that need extra attention to ensure our scholars are not only meeting basic requirements and standards but churning out more academic titans. I am excited for greater expanded, FREE pre-k offerings in our schools to alleviate childcare needs across the city. The District has invested well in its reserve fund, like a school savings account, to now be able to afford the reinvestment in bold efforts like newly constructed schools. I also look forward to continuing to maintain a smaller administrative team through natural attrition and the leadership and guidance of a permanent superintendent, that’s charged with the Blueprint 2030 strategy.
With your help and feedback, KCPS can be a district on the cutting edge; with new facilities; renovated buildings; robust, academic and extracurricular programs at ALL schools; culturally competent educational environment and expanded FREE pre-k services. Now is the time to recommit to KCPS, to make the hard choices to ensure we can maintain community governance and not cede our district to special interests.
I have weighed, and fraught with this decision for years as we have explored the challenges across our system and monitored the realities of the changes in our enrollment at all of our schools, we need bold action. We either do it now or my daughter, like many other KCPS students, will experience a diluted educational experience because adults lacked the courage of challenging but necessary decision making. Let’s be bold and ensure KCPS has a bright future ahead!
Kansas City Public Schools,