n the pantheon of unpopular moves by school superintendents, perhaps none rivals what John Covington wants to do.
Faced with declining enrollment and a $50 million budget shortfall, the Kansas City, Mo., schools chief wants the school board to close as many as 31 of the city’s 61 schools and lay off one-fourth of its employees — including 285 teachers.
Covington wants it done by the time school starts in fall. A vote could come in March.
“The bottom line is the quality of education we’re offering children in Kansas City is not good enough,” he says. “One reason it’s not good enough is that we’ve tried to spread our resources over far too many schools.”
Closing schools in shrinking urban districts is nothing new: It’s happening in dozens of cities, including Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Memphis, San Antonio and Washington, D.C. But the scope of Covington’s plan sets it apart from even the most cash-strapped school districts.
Much more on Kansas City’s school closing plans here.