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As USW Negotiations End, KCPS Continues to Build an Equitable Educational System

As USW Negotiations End, KCPS Continues to Build an Equitable Educational System

KCPS to launch public engagement process to share system analysis and gather ideas

Kansas City, April 4, 2019:  Kansas City Public Schools and the Uniting at Southwest organization (USW) have had on-going discussions for more than a year in regard to reopening the former Southwest High School site as a middle/high school. In January of 2018, the School Board adopted the Board Principles for Education Collaboration, which describe the board’s core values and priorities for the exploration of collaboration opportunities with existing/prospective school operators and/or school model advocates.

The KCPS Education Collaboration Process was created as a deliberate means to develop these joint efforts so they align with the core principles. During this process, entities that submit Letters of Interest must demonstrate how their proposed collaboration would contribute to building a stronger KCPS and more coordinated and organized education system.

The KCPS Education Collaboration process requires that proposals contribute to a more coordinated system that provides for the educational needs of all children within KCPS boundaries. Moreover, the proposal shall not compromise the financial sustainability of the overall system, nor contribute to inefficiency or redundancy.  

KCPS does not believe the USW proposal meets the standards and outcomes required to move forward, particularly in regards to financial sustainability. In alignment with the Education Collaboration process, the KCPS administration is indefinitely suspending negotiations with USW.

Instead, KCPS will devote its attention and resources to continued conversations with the entire community about solutions that will promote equitable educational outcomes for all our children.

KCPS System Analysis Study

The city’s education landscape has become increasingly fragmented and challenging for families to understand and navigate. To date, there are 22 separate public school systems within the KCPS boundaries, each operating under different governance rules and educational models. This landscape does not provide families with a clear path through the K-12 system and is not sustainable.

Pathway Academy and Kansas City Neighborhood Academy are examples of schools who have recently closed after struggling to be financially sustainable. Without proper planning and support, many schools could experience the same fate.

In December, KCPS released the “Kansas City Public Education System Analysis” to the public in a good faith and transparent effort to collaborate with charter schools, nonprofit organizations, the philanthropic community, business leaders, government officials and anyone who is interested in improving the lives of students.

Moving Forward

To improve the educational system, KCPS is establishing the “Moving Forward Together KC Initiative.” The goal of the initiative is to bring the entire community together to develop sustainable solutions that will address the issues discovered by the system analysis. 

The first major step in this initiative is to launch an engagement process in order to share the system analysis, discuss the conclusions with stakeholders and develop ideas. This will include ongoing conversations about developing educational opportunities south of Brush Creek. Engagement meetings will begin in May. Details about these meetings will be shared soon with stakeholders.