Following a nearly five hour Monday evening session, the Academie Lafayette school board unanimously voted to approach the Kansas City School District to lease the currently idle George B. Longan school at 34th and Cherry. In return for said lease the Academie Lafayette Board will work in conjunction with the KCSD to explore creating an International Languages High School in the now empty Westport Middle School.

Academie Lafayette, a french immersion charter school, proposes to educate their K-2 classes at the Longan facility while, after a substantial expansion of their Nichols campus, continuing to house their 3rd through 8th grades on South Oak Street.

Academie Lafayette Board members were believed to have presented their lease/proposal package to the KCSD today.

At the upcoming December 1st KCSD Board meeting, Airick West will champion the Lafayette/Longan lease as well as W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center leasing Pinkerton Elementary starting in early 2011.

Academie Lafayette’s proposal is thought to benefit both boards: the AL board will be able to expand their program into the mid-town area, as well as increase the total number of District children it can accept. The KC board will see a facility in a tenuous neighborhood utilized as designed rather than setting idle and adding more blight to the neighborhood.

Longer term the prospect of an International Languages high school in Westport would allow for a landing area for students of the two current lower level foreign language schools, as well as offer relief to a beleaguered neighborhood that has seen both schools shuttered in the last year.

Academie Lafayette’s proposal is also a bright spot for the KCSD at a moment when it could use any good news. The recent closure of Westport High and the dumping of those students into Southwest High and subsequent resignation of its principle created controversy KCSD neither needed nor desired. The proposed collaboration between KCSD and Academie Lafayette, one of the best charter schools in Missouri, will allow the KCSD to utilize the expertise that in a short ten years created a program that ranks as one of the best in Kansas City.

The December 1st KCSD meeting will begin at 6:30 PM. Parents are encouraged to attend.


UPDATE: KC Star wakes up.

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