What we can do for Kansas City Missouri Public Schools

Humanity's Team is not just about raising awareness of the concept of Oneness but it's also about LIVING, DOING and BEING Oneness. Many new-age concepts say that to change the world, we must first start by changing ourselves.

While I personally agree that focusing on your own heart and soul and bringing more peace into your life will also reflect outward to the rest of your world... I also believe that we can't turn a blind eye to the negative aspects of what is happening in our lives.

By shifting focus from negative to positive, we in the new-thought community tend to ignore some real and pressing issues that we could actually DO something about and that is why I'm writing this article today.

Here in Kansas City, we've experienced a wide variety of National successes including winning the World Series, improving our City's downtown areas, building amazing structures that house even more amazing events and even a new light-rail transportation system.

The one thing that Kansas City has not achieved at is providing high-quality public schools. I believe that it is time for the light-workers to step up and take an interest in what's happening in this City.

Following is a detailed letter that I recently sent to Mayor Sly James and all of the members of our City Council. It outlines the reason why we need to take a more active role in how our City's funds are managed when we are closing public schools left and right. If this continues, our public schools will disappear altogether and only charter and private schools will remain.

Now, I can personally afford to put my children in a charter school (ran by corporations) or a private school (extremely expensive) but they have friends that absolutely could not afford that. What happens to all of the kids in our City that can't afford to send their children to one of these other kinds of schools?

According to the voting record of our City Council and the Mayor's current agenda, our public schools are not important enough to support, even though most tax payers assume their taxes are paying for schools. Surprisingly, our schools, library and county funds have lost about $35 MILLION EACH YEAR to TIF development projects. It's time to take action and make sure that our City leaders know that we are committed to our kids, ALL of our kids and in providing them with a better future.

This issue has been in the news and you can get an idea of all the articles by following this link: http://www.kansascity.com/search/?q=BNIM

If you want to get involved and help gather the 3,417 signatures that will be needed to stop the latest amendment to the W. 17th Street TIF, please follow on Facebook here-  https://www.facebook.com/W-17th-St-TIF-Petition-Drive-1669654403275754/

Finally, to volunteer to collect signatures before December 8th, please click here- http://tinyurl.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=a074461ebf4ee2c210d68ea3e&id=af4ea43e52

October 30, 2015

Dear City Council Members and Mayor Sly James,

I am a small business owner living in the Waldo area. I serve on the Waldo Area Business Association (although I am not writing to you in this capacity) as well as the Waldo Tower Homes Association.

We’ve worked together on a number of issues through those two organizations and I have always found you to be reasonable supporters of our community.

I’m also an active parent of two Kansas City Public Schools students.

Over the past several years I have proudly watched our City make serious claims to fame with our award-winning redevelopment projects downtown. I couldn’t be more excited when the Sprint Center and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts was built.

I froze my fingers the night that Sporting Kansas City won the MLS Cup and made us champions. You could taste the love in the air that people had for our City that night!

I’ve watched the light rail debate and applauded this addition to the Main Street corridor and have even gotten involved in streetscape projects in my own neighborhood because I was so inspired by how amazing we could make this City, my home.

So this is why it’s so important that you know that today was the first day that I have ever felt seriously disappointed in the direction this council has decided to take us.

Your recent votes to give away our much-needed funds to developers for yet another new building complex on the Plaza is a disgrace and I am ashamed that this is the direction you decided to take.

The City Council’s website states that your “Main Strategic Priorities” are:

• Neighborhood Livability • Healthy Communities • Governance • Public Infrastructure • Economic Development • Public Safety

Let me ask you this: how does giving TIF grants to BNIM architecture firm support “neighborhood livability” when our neighborhood schools are in disrepair? When many of the students living in blighted neighborhoods are sitting in over-crowded rooms? When there are little to no opportunities for students on an IEP going into Middle School?

The The Kansas City Star recently quoted Councilwoman Katheryn Shieldsas saying, “This is an incredible project,” adding that it is being talked about at national architecture conferences.

You know what else the entire nation talks about? SCHOOLS

Why hasn’t the topic of Kansas City schools come into the equation when trying to figure out where our money is going?

Mayor Sly James letter to America recently touted #‎KansasCity for all manner of things, but he did not include our schools as one of our strengths. Instead, he says, “we know where we can improve…” and “ensure every child has access to a world-class education”.

He also mentioned the people of this City and how we are “friendly” and that we don’t “pretend to be something we’re not”.

Does this mean that we should just let people know up front that we don’t care about our kids? I don’t think this is what the honorable Mayor had in mind.

Let me ask you something else: How does diverting “23 years of future tax revenues back to this project that would otherwise go to Kansas City Public Schools, the library and other taxing jurisdictions” relate to your “main strategic priorities”?

Does it help our infrastructure? Does it help our community? I mean, REALLY help our community?

Do you really think that being on an Architectural Community’s map of cool places trumps making sure that we provide adequate learning environments for all of the City’s children?

Aren’t we responsible for that more than we are responsible for being cool?

I will also argue that we are “cool” enough already.

You should seriously read what the Mayor wrote about our City if you are feeling inadequate in some way.

Why would we want to spend another $5.2 MILLION in the crossroads??

We’ve done enough there and now it’s time to take care of our kids.

Tax increment financing should be used to promote projects in more blighted and underdeveloped areas.

One more thing I should mention about your website and that is what you've stated to be the City Council's "Vision" and that includes, "…develop sustainable, healthy communities where all prosper."It doesn't say we should develop sustainable, healthy communities in the Crossroads.

In closing, I'll leave you with what another parent said, and that is why don’t you try spending the week in some of these schools? Take a tour of the buildings, sit in the overcrowded classrooms. Play in the tiny gymnasiums. Enjoy a nice school lunch.

Drive, no, WALK around the neighborhoods and think about where these kids spend their time when they aren't in school.

Then, take a drive through the Plaza, to the Crossroads and feel good about yourself because we are so “cool” and Kansas City is the best place to be.

Angie Lile

No comments:

Post a Comment