Kansas City Halves Its Public Schools

Following in the national trend of major districts closing public schools, Kansas City voted in favor of closing 29 of its 61 schools to cope with a projected $50 million budget gap. Teachers at six other low-performing schools will have to reapply for their jobs, and the district must sell its downtown central office. The cuts will cost about 700 jobs, including 285 teaching positions. Many are concerned that the move will irreparably stunt the city’s development. "And now the public education system is aiding and abetting in the economic demise of our school district,” a city councilperson said. “It is shameful and sinful.” The district, meanwhile, has been quick to point out that many of the schools are only half full—its enrollment of fewer than 18,000 students is about half what the schools had a decade ago.