Earlier today, the Star ran an article discussing some options for a couple of the now-abandoned KCMO area schools. One of the options is a proposal by Academie Lafayette (a very successful French immersion charter school in the city, now with over 600 students) to take over Longan School at 3421 Cherry St.
According to the article, Academie Lafayette is seeking an answer on their proposal to take over the school this week because they need time to upgrade the facility (which has been abandoned now for more than a year) and accept increased enrollment -- or seek other options.
Now, make no mistake, this isn't a rushed decision by Academie Lafayette. Discussion about taking over Longan School has been going on for at least 3 months now. Academie Lafette wants to take over the abandoned school. The neighborhood is as close to unanimously in support of them taking over the abandoned school as could possibly ever happen. And the KCMO school board is supposedly eager to not let their 30 newly abandoned schools got to good use and not sit and rot like other abandoned schools have.
So, what's the hold up?
While I respect that the school distric wants to make the best use of their school buildings, there seems to be little that could be a better fit for a school building, in a neighborhood, than a successful school.
Apparently other schools are also up for re-use proposals as Alta Vista has a proposal in for Douglass School (2640 Bellview) and Academy of Integrated Arts has a proposal in for Franklin School at 3400 Highland.
If the school district is to repurpose these schools, they must use a respectable amount of nimbleness in doing so. They cannot make the red tape of using the schools be too big of a barrier to reusing these schools and not only preventing them from blighting neighborhoods, but actually making them USEFUL for the neighborhoods.
This is a can't lose. Make it happen. Because blocking progress is everything the school board said they wouldn't do when they shut down the schools a year ago.