Kansas City to close nearly half its schools

The Kansas City Board of Education voted March 10 to close almost half of the city’s public schools, accepting a sweeping and contentious plan to shrink the system in the face of dwindling enrollment, budget cuts, and a $50 million deficit, reports the New York Times. In a 5-to-4 vote, the members endorsed the Right-Size plan, proposed by Superintendent John Covington, to close 28 of the city’s 61 schools and cut 700 of 3,000 jobs, including those of 285 teachers. The closings are expected to save $50 million, erasing the deficit from the $300 million budget. Supporters of the plan made their case with the district’s data: Enrollment has declined by half in the last 10 years alone, to 17,400 children, and the schools are only 48 percent full. For decades, national education experts said, the Kansas City schools had not responded to changes in demographics that would have spared them such a drastic one-time cut. “Otherwise, this whole scenario would not be as wrenching as it now appears to be,” said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools…

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