Big Money Revealed

That there was big money behind the proposed Academie Lafayette-KCPS partnership at SWEC was never in doubt; that the putative donors were mostly interested in restoring SWEC’s erstwhile standard of excellence was also a given. So the contents of the below letter (forwarded our way last night by three different people) came as no surprise.

However, the context surely did: it appears a divided AL board stepped back from negotiations with KCPS once the black-oriented community organizations, churches and their supporters started playing the race card. This was undoubtedly exacerbated by the fact that KCPS Superintendent Dr. Green allowed AL to be tarred with that brush instead of stepping forward to defend the tentative partnership he so greatly desires.

But the pro-KCPS faction of the AL board (lead, we would surmise, by Cozad and Zeller) brought out the Stower letter 1 last night in an effort to change other board members’ positions. And this after the usual suspects –all directly related to AL in one fashion or another– reiterated their pro-KCPS stance. 2 3

We are unsure how the fact of this letter will play out within the AL board; will it give those members who walked away from KCPS some reason to return? 4 Or will it harden their initial resolve given how the letter was used as a cudgel in an open forum?

Of more interest, however, is what the Star will make of this once the news is spoon fed to Joe Robertson. Because the names in this letter are sure to stir up some emotions: perhaps, in certain parts of town, not all of them positive.

Which seems to indicate Stowers and the other civic leaders named below are playing their hole card – they’re willing to take whatever public heat (if any) this generates in the black/African-American community in order to restore their beloved SWEC to its prime.

There is more to this, much more. But for the moment, enjoy the read:

 

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Big Money Revealed

Show 4 footnotes

  1. Indeed we hear that Zeller actually read the entire letter, though we’re not sure why. We were told the missive had been passed out at the beginning of the meeting so surely the audience had already perused it.
  2. With the race card prominently displayed: Our Friend mentioned that Terry Riley’s wife (who has a child in AL) claimed their were diversity issues at Academie Lafayette. Which is interesting as the 2010 census counts KC proper as 59.2% white, 29.9% black or African-American, and the rest a polyglot similar to what seeded this country. Which is within 4-5 percentage points of Academie Lafayette’s actual student make-up, the difference undoubtedly originating from AL’s policy of automatically admitting siblings: when founded AL was predominantly white. However we guess the diversity issue just sounds good and Mrs. Riley assumed no one would correct her.
  3. Our Friend also noted that Mrs. Riley is a far more eloquent speaker than her husband, who was also in attendance last night, and who also spoke to the board, claiming he had made clear to the black-oriented community organizations, churches and their supporters that they had “misunderstood” AL’s intent and that Al should pick up negotiations with KCPS because everything would now be fine. Fine? Is there anything you can remember from Riley’s tenure on the city council that could be defined as fine? We can’t. Wait…at least he didn’t pull a Michael Brooks, right?
  4. To be clear: Our Friend noted that this letter of financial support, this particular money package, would at least be amended if not outright withdrawn should AL not end up in SWEC. There might be capital to incubate an AL high school…elsewhere. But not nearly as much as this pledge, perhaps less than a fifth.

10 thoughts on “Big Money Revealed”

  1. Too funny – I was at an Urban SUmmit Friday breakfast last year where Terry Riley just went off on charter schools, was dead set against partnering with the academie Lafayette school. WOnder who changed his mind?

  2. This makes no sense. KCPS has spent the last 3 years dumping schools at fire sale prices (1)(2), why doesn’t suddenly cash-heavy AL just BUY a building and send KCPS and their convoluted “partnership” packing??

    Could it be because Jon Hile, Airick West and Gunnar Hand support a restriction in ALL the sales contracts — Buyer prohibited from leasing to any K-12 education agency for 20 years.

    So, AL is trapped in the partnership — unless there’s a change in board policy.

    Why doesn’t AL leadership and the guys with deep pockets put pressure on KCPS to sell schools to charters? With highly-visible public pressure, the board vote on that would be:

    Yeas: Hile, Hand, West, Mansur, Rogers, Montero, Robinson, Hartsfield, Evans –that’s 100%

    So, what’s the problem? Hile, Hand and West ONLY want ALHS to succeed IF they’re in on the deal.

    1) 2014 — Westport Middle sold for $750,000 to private corporation
    2) KCPS administration recommended selling Westport High School for $1 million last year. Now, 2 developers (both private corporations) are vying for the SCHOOL and 9,25 acres which taxpayers paid to be built and used as a SCHOOL!

  3. AL doesn’t have enough graduates to fill out a freshman hs class – less than 40 a year.So they “need” the KCPS bodies, and the $$$ that comes with SWEC, else they open a small hs strictly under their own charter and have to admit -after their own students, of course – anyone who applies by lottery fashion. Which would possibly be an administrative nightmare: kids admitted who had no hope of graduating while kids who would do well sat out. Going with KCPS allows AL to push the admissions tests back on the school district.

  4. Academie Lafayette is going about this all wrong. They don’t need a massive high school like Southwest. They could raise the finds over the next couple of years and buy a smaller school to run their own high school and just do a lottery for another 40 seats – an 80 count freshman class. Yes the non-Al kids would come from all over, but so what – if they can’t cut the mustard, flunk their asses outta their and move on the next family waiting to put their kid in a good school.

    it’s not rocket science.

  5. how do you say it? “kansas city’s most sued blogger”? yeah – he ripped you off this afternoon. and the star finally posted a story about a half hour ago. joe robertson – you called it

    1. Information wants to be free, if you can’t deal with it. Don’t blog.

      TKC RULES!

      And I Tony’s post was a lot more fun than this tripe.

  6. A few members of the AL board will be at the May 4th PA meeting to go over this in more detail. Or at least that’s what I heard dropping off my boys this morning.

    I don’t have an email from the school yet that speaks to this letter but I saw that the Kansas City Star published pretty much the same news late yesterday afternoon so I expect something in the newsletter later this week

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