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December 31, 2011

KC schools: a longtime adult money pit

I have lived in the Kansas City area for most of my 73 years. I have watched and listened to the so-called “power brokers” for the Kansas City Public Schools play their games with the students. I have come to the following conclusions:

The school district is just a cash cow for the school board members, Kansas City contractors, the teachers union and the teachers. The money that is generated each year is what this is all about.

They couldn’t care less about the students. It is all about their own self-interest and the money they can take from the district.

Now you are going to rope Mayor Sly James into this mess. That will most likely bring him down. I do feel that he is an honorable man and is being dragged into this doomed quagmire.

How many more children of his district are you willing to lose for the sake of money that the elders or so-called adults will steal from these children’s future?

I pray for the kids of this district. Please get rid of the self-interest.

Randall T. Ryan
Camdenton, Mo.



I agree that money was the problem. A good part of the city infrastructure was funded by schools - followed by corruption by administration and other would be "adults.". Unfortunately I see all this money and power being housed with the mayor as a recipe for disaster - if it can get any worse. I am starting to agree that the best option is breaking up the district. I also hope that the good teachers don't get punished for this. I've only known good, dedicated teachers, and it makes me angry when they are blamed for corruption in the district.

Steve Johnston

Unfortunately, the least worst solution may be to have neighboring school districts absorb the KCMSD. Then, after a stabilizing period, maybe the more scholarly students will return. Shame on the money grubbing leaches that drove the district into the gutter.


Years ago, when my child was in 2nd grade in a KCMO Public School, his entire class was kept in a 1st grade reader. When I asked the teacher why, she said it was so they (the school district) could qualify for Title I Federal Funds to help 'urban core' students to read. Well, the kids COULD read on a 2nd grade level, but their reading skills were twarted to collect money. I removed my trust of any teacher in the KCMSD and put my son in a private school immediately. Fast forward to the early '90's. I worked a temp job at the District Headquarters on McGee. The nepotism, ineptitude and general 'don't give a d---' treatment of the teachers was down right appalling! I felt sorry for the teachers.


Does anyone really think that if the student body of, for instance, Blue Valley High School traded places with that of any KCSD high school, the performance of the former would turn bad and the performance of the latter would turn good? Maybe the problem is not the school board or the teachers.

Rick Chambers

I think that there is truth in both the first comment and the letter itself. The money pit is less about the teachers and school board members than it is about the District bureaucracy. If you look at the root cause of many of the current problems, it is the excessive size of the bureaucracy and the fact that so many of those positions are filled by people who are employed based on their connections more than their abilities. The problem with most of the proposals currently on the table is that they do not quickly address the problem of rebuilding or replacing the administrative bureaucracy. Until that happens, it will be difficult for even the most dedicated teachers to implement consistent and productive change in the classroom.

Harry Crisson

Mr. Ryan - As a retired Kansas City teacher I would strongly compel you to back up your words with figures - although I seldom agreed with the board they never showed any monetary reward for their efforts. As for the faculty and staff I can honestly say that they were some of the most dedicated and child oriented educators I have ever been associated. And if you compared the rates of pay of Kansas City with almost any other urban school district there is no way they can be considered "Cash Cows".

Quit making up stories and get the honest facts - do a little research before you spew opinions as fact.


Great letter and so true. But why has it taken over 30 years for us to realize that everybody is doing great in the KCMSD except the children?
How can we fix it? How did the district just become an "entitlement" for certain so-called leaders?

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