School announcement puts Westport High School deal on hold


The Kansas City School District and Academie Lafayette charter school have reached a groundbreaking agreement that could lead to the opening of a joint international school at Southwest High School.

The district characterizes this as the  beginning the process of getting the public’s feedback on a innovative potential partnership with Académie Lafayette, a French-immersion public charter school, to create a new, academically rigorous and diverse high school beginning in the 2015-2016 school year.

After the announcement today, the district said it is committed to engaging its stakeholders throughout this process. Meetings will be held July 8 and July 22 to solicit feedback from the entire KCPS community. Although the KCPS Board unanimously endorsed the intent to partner with Académie Lafayette, the board will vote on final approval in the fall following the series of meetings to gather feedback.

The news  leaves folks in Midtown wondering what the deal will mean to the future of Westport High School.

The district had recommended selling the closed Westport school to a developer who planned to house Academie Lafayette at the Midtown site.

Foutch Brothers had proposed including the school in a redevelopment project that also included residential and other uses. The approval of that sale has been held up at the school board, and a group of residents has been asking the board to reconsider a previous vote on the proposal.

Mayor James said this morning that he applauds the leadership of the school district and Académie Lafayette for taking the innovative approach of opening a joint school.

Meanwhile, the partnership between the district and the charter school is being heralded as an important step.

“This is a huge moment for the entire City, for the families of the district and Académie Lafayette, and for the families I work every day to recruit to this community,” the mayor says.  “Having a school with an International Baccalaureate and international language program contributes to my vision of Kansas City being home to world-class education and it is simply the right, smart thing to do.”

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