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KCMO School Board Governance Debated

Hands Off KCMSD organizer Spark Bookhart introduces the new campaign. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.


Kansas City, MO – A new group launched a campaign yesterday to fight changes to the governance structure of the Kansas City Missouri school board. A bill proposed last month in the Missouri House of Representatives would call for all board members to be elected at-large, by the entire city. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross has more.


The Kansas City School Board currently has six sub-district members, elected only by their region, and three at-large members, who are selected by the entire city. House Bill 222, proposed by Representative Brian Yates of Lee's Summit, would maintain six members from each of the subdistricts, but they would be elected by the city at large. Supporters of this bill, and another concept to appoint school board members, say the current structure is not serving the city's students. But Hands Off campaign leader Spark Bookhart says changing the board structure would be undemocratic.

BOOKHART: We just really, really believe in the Democratic process, and in the voice of the community. Too long the community has been an absent player in this process.

Bookhart says if the campaign succeeds in maintaining the current board structure, the next step will be engaging the community in improving the city's schools.


Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.
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