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:
- 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. ↩
- 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. ↩
- 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? ↩
- 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. ↩