Talks between Academie Lafayette, school district on pause

untitled-(6-of-9)Académie Lafayette and the Kansas City School District say they have agreed to “step back” from negotiations about a potential partnership at the Southwest Early Learning Campus.

Académie Lafayette Board President Chad Phillips said today that doesn’t mean talks have broken down between the two.

”Our focus has been on this,” Phillips says of negotiations with the district over the Southwest campus. “We want to make sure we are looking at all options.”

Community, political and civil rights groups including the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, the Urban Summit, Freedom Inc., the Black United Front and Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equality held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to announce their opposition to the deal, which they said could hurt minority students, according to KCTV 5 news.

The school district is in the process of developing a master plan which will include both buildings and and funding. The district says that it cannot make decisions about any specific school until the master plan is complete. The district also said it is exploring options for current Southwest students.

The French-language public charter school had been in negotiations to locate a high school in the vacant Westport High School, but then shifted its focus to negotiating with the school district on a Southwest site. Last month, developers presented new proposals to the district for the purchase of Westport High School. Neither proposal included a school.

Both the district and the charter school said both sides worked hard on trying to find a partnership that worked for both. They had been discussing Academic Lafayette running an International Baccalaurate high school on the Southwest campus.

“KCPS and Académie Lafayette welcome resuming the negotiations once the KCPS Master Plan has been completed and other important issues are resolved” the two parties stated.

Mayor James issued a statement this afternoon saying he was saddened that the talks had been suspended.

“This was an attempt to add quality schools seats so that our children would have more access to top quality educational options. The proposed collaboration is an innovative effort by a school district and a charter school to find a way to work together for the benefit of our children. I hope that all the adults involved in the process will be able to renew this attempt to do all that is possible to ensure a quality education for every child,” the mayor said.

Meanwhile, Académie Lafayette will continue to look for a location for an International Baccalaureate (IB) High school facility to continue the 6-8th grade program it currently offers.  IB is billed as a program that helps students develop intellectual and social skills to live in a global world.

“There is lots of interest from parents for an expanded program,” Phillips says. “We’re going to look around some more.”

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