Kansas City school board should sell Westport High School

04/05/2014 5:38 PM

04/05/2014 5:38 PM

The Kansas City school board needs to do the right thing and sell Westport High School to Foutch Brothers Real Estate.

The board balked in a 4-3 vote on the sale of the school, which in part would become home of Academie Lafayette’s International Baccalaureate high school, The Kansas City Star reports. The board vote occurred in a closed meeting last week.

Academie Lafayette is a popular and high achieving charter school. It opened a kindergarten through eighth-grade French language immersion school in 1999 and then expanded into what had been Longan Elementary School in the Kansas City district.

The plan for Westport High School at 315 E. 39th St. sounds exciting.

It would include the Academie Lafayette expansion as well as 70 apartments, office spaces, performance art program space in the auditorium, community fitness club space in two gymnasiums, athletic fields, tennis courts, sand volleyball and an indoor pool. The midtown neighborhood would benefit from the school’s reuse in addition to separate plans for Westport Middle School across 39th Street to be the new home for healthy living programs and urban farming.

Sitting empty, Westport High School does no one any good — least of all the surrounding community. Besides, Kansas City Public Schools could benefit from the academic competition that Academie Lafayette would provide.

The Kansas City school board should welcome the sale and the need to step up its game to prove that Kansas City Public Schools students can be just as good.

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