• Kansas City Public Schools History


    The Kansas City Public Schools was organized in 1867 and originally served 2,150 children. Today, the school system educates nearly 16,700 children and employs nearly 2,300 teachers and administrators. The urban school system offers a rich multi-ethnic, multi-cultural mix of students throughout the city.


    The school district serves some of the residents within Kansas City, Missouri.

    It is bordered on the west by the Kansas/Missouri borderline and on the east by the Independence and Raytown school districts. It is bordered on the north by the Missouri River. It is bordered on the south by the Hickman Mills school district and, at approximately 85th Street, by the Center school district. The school district covers none of the city north of the Missouri River, sitting inside the historic boundaries of the city before later annexations. In fact, there are portions of Kansas City where children attend 14 other "suburban" districts. In other words, the Kansas City District comprises the oldest parts of the city and is not contiguous with the boundaries of the city of Kansas City.


    Before 1900

    April 1885: Portions of District #1 and the Oakley District.
    April 1886: Portions of the Ashland and Westport Districts.
    April 1887: Another portion of the Oakley District.
    February 16, 1899: Entire Westport District.

    1900 to 1950

    April 16, 1903: Ivanhoe District.
    September 6, 1906: A portion of the Swope District.
    October 18, 1906; September 3, 1908; February 4, 1909; September 16, 1910: Four separate portions of the Seven Oaks District. Seven Oaks continued to exist.
    April 4, 1910: A portion of the Mount Washington District.
    May 18, 1910: Remaining portion of the Swope District.
    August 28, 1911: Entire District No. 101.
    September 7, 1911: Entire Border Star District.
    September 21, 1911: Another portion of the Seven Oaks District.
    November 2, 1911: Entire Briston District.
    November 16, 1911: Entire Mount Washington District.
    March 21, 1912: Part of the Boone District.
    August 27, 1912: Shiloh district.
    February 13, 1913: Remaining portion of the Seven Oaks District.
    September 2, 1913: A portion of the Center District.
    December 11, 1916: All of the Leeds District.
    August 7, 1947: The Ruhl–Hartman District.

    1950 to 2000

    January 17, 1952: A portion of the Center District.
    May 11, 1955: Sugar Creek District.
    February 7, 1957: Rock Creek District.
    March 27, 1958: Pitcher–Fairview District.
    January 1, 1973: Pleasant Valley District.

    State accreditation

    From 1985 to 1999, a United States district court judge required the state of Missouri to fund the creation of magnet schools in the KCPS in order to reverse the white flight that had afflicted the school district since the 1960s. The district's annual budget more than tripled in the process. The expenditure per pupil and the student-teacher ratio were the best of any major school district in the nation. Many high schools were given college-level facilities. Despite all the largesse, test scores in the magnet schools did not rise; the black-white gap did not diminish; and there was less, not more, integration. Finally, on September 20, 2011, the Missouri Board of Education voted unanimously to withdraw the district's accreditation status, effective January 1, 2012. In August 2014, the Board of Education granted provisional accreditation status to KCPS in recognition of the academic gains made by KCPS students. In the 2014–2015 school year, KCPS has 13 schools which met the state standard for full accreditation, and another eight which met the standard for provisional accreditation.

    School closings since the 1980s

    In the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s KCMSD closed at least 30 buildings. Some buildings were sold, some demolished, and some abandoned. In 2010 district superintendent John Covington submitted a plan calling for the closure of 29 of the district's remaining 61 schools. During that year almost half of the KCMO schools closed. By that year many students, instead of attending district schools, attended charter schools, private schools, parochial schools, and schools in suburban school districts. As of 2010, the school district had less than 18,000 students, half of its enrollment in 2000 and 25% of its peak population in the 1960s.

    Transfer of schools to Independence in 2007-2008

    In November 2007, the voters of the Independence Public School District and the Kansas City, Missouri School District voted for seven schools (one high school, one middle school, and five elementary schools) to be taken over by the Independence School District. Victor Callahan, a state senator, supported the annexation and said that he hoped that KCMSD would disappear via annexations within a 10-year span. The teachers' union of Kansas City opposed the move. Gwendolyn Grant, the head of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, supported the move; she said it would make the KCMSD school board more racially homogeneous and therefore reduce tensions within the school board. In November 2007 84% of voting residents within Independence and 66% of voting residents within Kansas City approved the transfer. Jim Hinson, the superintendent of the Independence district, believed that the KCMO district fought the annexation was because it was a "pride issue" and because the KCMO district feared that other parts of the district could secede.

    In April 2008 the Kansas City Missouri School District Buildings Corp. sued to receive a declaratory judgment on the value of the Independence buildings. In July 2008 Missouri Commissioner of Education D. Kent King asked for KCMSD to give up the schools. During that month a judge ruled that Independence had a right to control the seven transferred schools and the closed Anderson Campus. In August 2008 the Independence School District wired more than $12.8 million dollars to the Kansas City, Missouri district. The building transfer was completed.

    School openings in 2014

    In 2014, KCPS re-opened Hale Cook Elementary School at 7302 Pennsylvania Ave. in the Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City. This was in large part due to the grassroots effort by the Friends of Hale Cook community organization. The school had been mothballed since 2009. Hale Cooked launched the school year with 108 students in pre-K through 2nd grade and will expand one grade every year until 6th grade.

    The same summer, KCPS also re-opened Central Middle School at 3611 E. Linwood Boulevard and Northeast Middle School at 4904 Independence Avenue as neighborhood schools serving 7th graders. The schools will expand to include 8th graders in 2015.

    In addition, KCPS expanded its pre-K program by opening a second Early Learning Center, Richardson, at 3515 Park Ave.

    Missouri v. Jenkins

    Missouri v. Jenkins is a case decided by the United States Supreme Court. On June 12, 1995, the court, in a 5-4 decision, overturned a district court ruling that required the state of Missouri to correct de facto racial inequality in schools by funding salary increases and remedial education programs.

    Broadcast station owner

    Kansas City Public Television (KCPT) was signed on for the first time as Kansas City School District (KCSD), which owned the station until 1971. The school district put the license on the market in 1971. A group of civic leaders formed Public Television 19 and bought the license. The station relaunched in January 1972 as KCPT. That fall, it began broadcasting PBS shows in color for the first time.


    Dr. Mark T. Bedell joined Kansas City Public Schools as Superintendent on July 1st, 2016. Bedell previously served as the assistant superintendent for Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS).

    Interim Superintendent Allan Tunis was named to the position on June 11, 2015. He was chosen by the Board of KCPS to maintain a focus on increasing individual student achievement in every KCPS school through academic best practices, top-flight employees, sound management, effective partnerships and public engagement.

    Dr. R. Stephen Green was superintendent until June 2015. He was officially named to the position on April 2, 2012, after being interim superintendent since August 2011. On Wednesday, May 13, 2015, Dr. Green was announced as the sole finalist for superintendent of Dekalb County School District in Atlanta, Georgia. He will stay at the helm of the Kansas City Public Schools until 30 June 2015.

    Dr. John Covington was superintendent from 2009 until his resignation in August 2011.

    Anthony Amato was superintendent from July 2006 to January 2008.

    Bernard Taylor was superintendent from at least May 2003 until 2005, when the school board declined to renew his contract.

    Benjamin E. Demps Jr. was superintendent from August 2, 1999, until sometime in June 2003.


    All schools are in the City of Kansas City, Missouri.

    High schools


    • Central Academy of Excellence - 3221 Indiana Avenue
    • East High School - 1924 Van Brunt Boulevard
    • Northeast High School - 415 Van Brunt Boulevard
    • Southeast High School - 3500 E Meyer Boulevard
    • Success Academy at Anderson - 1601 Forest Ave


    • Lincoln College Preparatory Academy - 2111 Woodland Avenue
    • Paseo Academy - 4747 Flora Avenue

    Career and technical centers

    • Manual Career Tech - 1215 East Truman Road

    Middle schools

    • Central Middle School - 3611 E. Linwood Boulevard
    • Northeast Middle School - 4904 Independence Avenue

    Elementary schools


    • Banneker - 7050 Askew Avenue
    • Faxon -1320 E. 32nd Terrace
    • Garcia - 1000 West 17th Street
    • Garfield - 436 Prospect Boulevard
    • Gladstone - 335 North Elmwood Avenue
    • Hartman - 8111 Oak Street
    • Hale Cook - 7302 Pennsylvania Avenue
    • James - 5810 Scarritt Avenue
    • Martin Luther King Elementary School - 4201-A Indiana Avenue
    • Longfellow - 2830 Holmes Street
    • Melcher - 3958 Chelsea Avenue
    • Wendell Phillips at Attucks K-8 - 2400 Prospect Ave
    • Pitcher - 9915 East 38th Terrace
    • J. A. Rogers - 6400 E. 23rd Street
    • Success Academy at Knotts - 1701 Jackson Avenue
    • Trailwoods - 6201 E. 17th. Street
    • Troost - 1215 East 59th Street
    • Wheatley - 2415 Agnes Avenue
    • Whittier - 1012 Bales Avenue


    • Carver Dual Language - 4600 Elmwood Avenue
    • Border Star Montessori - 6321 Wornall Road
    • Foreign Language Academy - 3450 Warwick Boulevard
    • Holliday Montessori - 7227 Jackson Avenue


    • Woodland Early Learning Center - 711 Woodland Avenue
    • Richardson Early Learning Center - 3515 Park Avenue

    Former schools

    Closed to K-8 transition

    • Graceland - 4101 East 53rd Street


    High schools

    • Southwest High School (Kansas City) - closed in 1998
    • West High School (Kansas City) - closed in the 1980s
    • Westport High School - 315 East 39th Street; closed in 2010

    Elementary and middle schools

    • Horace Mann Elementary School
    • Switzer School
    • West Junior High School
    • Switzer Annex (Kansas City) - closed in 1979

    Middle schools

    • Central Academy - 3611 East Linwood Boulevard
    • Lincoln College Preparatory Academy - 2012 East 23rd Street; is now combined with the high school
    • Bingham Junior High School (Kansas City) - closed in 2002
    • Kansas City Middle School of the Arts - 4848 Woodland Avenue
    • Paul Robeson Middle School (Kansas City) - became a classical Greek magnet school in 1990 and a regular middle school in 1998; closed in 2004

    Primary schools

    • Askew - 2630 Topping Avenue
    • Bancroft Elementary School (Kansas City) - opened as a one-room school house in 1904, closed in 2000
    • Blenheim - 2411 East 70th Terrace
    • Cook - 7302 Pennsylvania Avenue
    • R.J. DeLano - 3708 East Linwood Boulevard - served students with special needs
    • Douglas - 2640 Bellview Avenue
    • East Elementary School - 6400 East 23rd Street
    • Benjamin Franklin - 1325 Washington Street - opened in 1900, closed in 1973
    • C. A. Franklin - 3400 Highland Avenue
    • Greenwood School (Kansas City) - opened in 1900, closed in 1997
    • Knotts - 7301 Jackson Avenue
    • Henry C. Kumpf
    • Ladd - 3640 Benton Boulevard
    • Longan - 3421 Cherry Street
    • Norman School (Kansas City) - opened in 1901; Kansas City's first stone exterior building; located in the Valentine neighborhood; the building served as a teacher resource center after being a school; the building closed in 2005
    • Manchester School (Kansas City) - joined the Kansas City district in 1899; the final building, which opened in 1920, was delayed due to World War I
    • Moore - 4510 East Linwood Boulevard
    • Northeast Elementary School - 4904 Independence Avenue
    • Paige Elementary School
    • Pinkerton - 6409 Agnes Avenue
    • Scarritt - 3509 Anderson Avenue
    • Seven Oaks Elementary School (Kansas City) - was in its own school district before Kansas City annexed it in 1913; named after Sevenoaks in England; closed in 2003
    • Thacher Elementary School (Kansas City) - originally built in 1900, the facility was closed in the 1990s after being an annex to Northeast Middle School; for one year it served as an eighth-grade center before closing in the northern hemisphere summer of 2009; the former school was damaged by a fire in 2011
    • Nelson School - the building is now part of UMKC, and is called "Grant Hall"
    • Weeks - 4201 Indiana Avenue
    • West Rock Creek - 8820 East 27th Street
    • Frances Willard School (Kansas City) - closed in 1998
    • Woodland - 711 Woodland Avenue

    Transferred to Independence School District

    • Van Horn High School (Independence)
    • Nowlin Middle School (Independence)
    • Fairmount Elementary (Independence)
    • Mt. Washington Elementary (Independence)
    • North Rock Creek/Korte Elementary (Independence)
    • Sugar Creek Elementary (Sugar Creek)
    • Three Trails Elementary (Independence)

    Closed and later transferred

    Primary and alternative schools

    • C. R. Anderson School (Independence) - originally called the Pitcher School; KCMSD annexed it in 1957; became an alternative school for troubled students in the 1980s; closed in 2000 was transferred to the Independence School District in 2008