The school district is broke. The most illustrative point of this whole thing, and why this country is so bankrupt lies in the 2nd paragraph. They are closing 1/2 the schools, but cutting just 700 out of 3300 jobs. Those numbers don't even come close to adding up. This and so many other school districts are top-heavy w/far too many of the dollars going to a fat, unionized, bureaucracy that has little to do with educating the kids. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704353404575114463025177240.html?mod=googlenews_wsj MARCH 11, 2010 School Crisis Rattles Missouri Kansas City Board Approves Plan to Shutter Nearly Half of District's Buildings By DOUGLAS BELKIN The Kansas City Missouri School Board voted Wednesday night to shutter nearly half of its schools in an effort to avoid going broke. The action closes 28 of 58 campuses and eliminates about 700 of the district's 3,300 jobs, including 285 teachers. "None of us like doing this but it was necessary, it had to be done," said board member Arthur Benson after a tense five to four vote that was interrupted several times by upset parents. The plan comes as school districts around the country, battered by the recession and budget cutbacks, are closing facilities to save money. Detroit closed 29 schools before classes began this fall, leaving the district with 172 schools, according to the Associated Press. The Kansas City School District, which serves 18,000 students, was twice as large a decade ago. That decrease has led to cuts in state funding. The district now runs a $12 million monthly deficit and expects to run out of money by 2011. The plan, dubbed "Right Sizing the District," aims to end the deficit and address poor academic performance by consolidating services and cutting under-performing staff. Less than one third of elementary school students are reading at or above grade level. In nearly three quarters of the schools only one quarter of the students are characterized as "proficient," according to the district. School Superintendent John Covington told the board months ago the cuts were necessary and has spent weeks trying to sell the plan to its concerned citizens. Along with the 28 schools, the district's administration center and an adult basic education center will be closed. The buildings will be sold in batches to avoid flooding the market. In a statement, Mr. Covington said the plan would "dramatically enhance education for each of our students by combining our very best teachers and very best resources in fewer schools." On Wednesday night, the vote drew sharp outcries from some parents and community leaders who complained the school closings would gut many predominantly African-American neighborhoods that have already been hit by discrimination and the real-estate collapse. At the meeting, Kansas City Councilwoman Sharon Sanders Brooks said that the "urban core" has suffered since the mid-1950s from a flight of the middle class as well as unscrupulous practices by banks and real-estate companies. Many students have left for publicly funded charter schools, private and parochial schools and the suburbs. "And now the public-education system is aiding and abetting in the economic demise of our school district,'' Ms. Brooks said. "It is shameful and sinful.'' Fewer students have translated into less money from the state. For the past few years, the district has been spending its way through the reserves it built up when money from a $2 billion court-ordered desegregation plan was flooding its coffers, according to the Associated Press. School administrators have said big cuts were needed to balance the budget. School Board President Marilyn Simmons, who voted against the plan, said she feared it would mean "more bussing and the crumbling of neighborhoods."