Hale Cook Elementary School opening approved

Simply put, the Kansas City Public Schools really wants to see Hale Cook Elementary School opened with new families in the fall of 2014.

The district on Wednesday told families working to reopen the school at 7302 Pennsylvania Ave. the news they had been hoping for.

The school will reopen, Superintendent Steve Green said, even though the recruitment effort so far has fallen short of the number of families the district had said it wanted committed to the school to start the process.

The district will begin by having a classroom for Hale Cook kindergarten students at Hartman Elementary during the 2013-2014 school year while Hale Cook’s building is prepared for opening for 2014-2015.

First-grade enrollments for Hale Cook will start in a mixed classroom with Hartman students.

The campaign for Hale Cook had hoped to get enough families enrolled to have two kindergarten classrooms and one first-grade classroom, some 50 to 60 children total. But the number of children so far is 26.

The district is going ahead with the plan, Green said, because the administration and the Friends of Hale Cook organization believe the recruiting campaign will continue to grow.

“We think these families will draw more families,” Green said. “This is more about creating an option for families that otherwise go to private schools or across the state line.”

Ashley Hand, who has been leading the Hale Cook campaign, said she was “turning cartwheels” Wednesday.

Many families are still getting the word about the new school, she said, and knowing that the district is committed to opening the building will help.

“We need to keep getting the word out,” Hand said. “It will be easier because we know it’s opening.”