Kansas City Public Schools launches “Building The Blueprint” initiative for school facilities

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Kansas City, Missouri – On Tuesday, May 21, Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) is set to engage the community in a major initiative aimed at enhancing school facilities throughout the district. They plan to hold two workshops, one in English and one in Spanish, under the banner “Building The Blueprint.” These workshops aim to communicate the current needs of school facilities and to collect input from staff, families, students, and other community stakeholders.

Remarkably, KCPS stands out as the only school district in Missouri’s region that has not secured a General Obligation (GO) Bond approved by voters for funding improvements to school facilities. The last time voters approved such a bond for the district was back in 1967.

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This new effort is seen as the most substantial investment in the education of Kansas City’s youth in the last 30 years. The initiative will unveil a 10-Year Capital Funding Plan designed to outline and prioritize the district’s needs for school facilities over the coming decade. The plan will also specify the sources of funding for these crucial upgrades and identify key projects for two upcoming bond measures: a Certificate of Participation (COP) Bond in the fall of 2024 and a GO Bond in 2025.

“Our facilities do not reflect the remarkable efforts of our staff and our students.” Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Collier explained a video posted on the district’s website. “The district has more than $650 million in critical repair needs including outdated wiring, plumbing, roofs, and our HVAC systems”

Members from both the Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) and the local business community are teaming up to seek feedback and bolster community backing for their development plan. KCPS intends to prepare a draft of the 10-Year Capital Funding Plan, which is scheduled to be presented to the School Board on July 17, 2024.

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“We know that adequate facilities are the foundation of an equitable education.” proclaimed Dr. Jennifer Collier.

Supporting this notion, a 2007 study from Virginia Tech highlights a clear link between the enhancement of school facilities and improvements in student academic performance. Calvin Bullock, the author of the study, discusses these findings in his work

“This study found that building condition is related to student achievement. Students performed better in newer or recently renovated buildings than they did in older buildings. The percentage of students passing the Commonwealth of Virginia Standards of Learning Examination at the middle school level was higher in English, mathematics and science in standard buildings than it was in substandard buildings.”

The community workshop will be held Tuesday, May 21 from 6:00-7:30 pm at the Board of Education building located on 2901 Troost Avenue. Dinner, childcare, and translation will be provided.

Read also: Community improvement grants now available through Kansas City’s Neighborhood Empowerment Program

For more information, visit www.kcpublicschools.org/bond

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