Kansas City Schools to reorganize

Thursday, April 26, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Kansas City school board has approved a plan to close most of the district's middle schools as part of the largest reorganization in the district in 20 years.

The board's vote Wednesday night approved a plan proposed by Superintendent Anthony Amato to eventually replace most middle schools in favor of neighborhood elementary schools for kindergartners to eighth-graders.

The changes will take effect only if the administration redraws school boundaries and clarifies costs and funding sources by May 31.

Amato said his staff will conduct surveys of families to better predict which schools they expect their children to attend under the changes. That would allow the district to draw boundaries and estimate the effect on transportation costs.

The plan also would establish universal, full-day prekindergarten programs for all district children 3 to 5 years old and remove the magnet status from several elementary schools.

Students who are assigned to new neighborhood schools will be required to begin attending them for the 2008-2009 school year if the student is below the fifth grade. New residents and incoming kindergartners would be assigned according to the new boundaries starting next fall.

The move to K-8 schools also would begin in the fall and be completed in three years. After middle schools were phased out, the district would be able to close six buildings, according to the plan.

Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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