School board member offers support for Midtown Community School Initiative

Community members recently listened to ideas and offered suggestions for creating a quality Midtown school, the goal of the new Midtown Community School Initiative.

A group of Midtowners have invited others to join them in creating new options for neighborhood schools.

At a recent kickoff meeting, organizers suggested several options for creating the type of school they envision: invest in and improve an existing school district school; create a new charter school with Midtown boundaries; partner with a current charter school or adopt one that is struggling; or follow the “Hale Cook model” and ask the district to reopen a school to serve the Midtown area.

The Midtown KC Post asked Kansas City Public School District (KCPS) board member Jonathan Hile, who represents subdistrict 1, for his reaction to the Midtown Community School Initiative. He says he’s excited about the effort and wants to work with the group.

“Midtown Kansas City is home to a diverse citizenry, tremendous community assets, amazing neighborhoods, and strong families.  A rich educational experience for children that reflects those values could be a transformative experience for students, families, and property owners.  I applaud this group of grassroots activists and will offer whatever help I can to help them achieve this dream,” Hile said.

Here are Hile’s responses to three questions about the school initiative.

1. What is your reaction to people in Midtown getting organized to try to provide more quality school options for their children? 

I’m excited by their effort.  I obviously think the KCPS is well positioned to work with this group build a school that reflects the goals of the group. As a Board Member, I’m ready to pitch in and help however I am able.

2. Parents further south were able to rally around Hale Cook and persuade the district to reopen the school. Is this a viable option for Midtown?  

Yes, I think if this group is able to demonstrate the same level of commitment and engagement that the Hale Cook supporters did, a similar model could absolutely work in midtown.

3. With schools being closed and sold across the city, what factors would the school district consider in response for a request from parents for a neighborhood school within the boundaries of Midtown? 

The repurposing process will continue as scheduled.  We’ve made a commitment to work with district stakeholders to ensure that every closed KCPS building is repurposed in a intentional manner that benefits the community.  We’ll continue to implement the process as designed.  Obviously, as this group develops, we hope to work with them to identify options should they choose to be a part of the KCPS family of schools.

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