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Debate over KCPS Blueprint 2030 plan continues at Central High School

Central High Meeting
Posted at 8:50 PM, Oct 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-19 23:20:17-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A meeting Monday at the Southeast Community Center produced a wide range of emotions, as the debate continues over the Kansas City Public Schools' Blueprint 2030 plan.

The plan includes the potential closing or repurposing of 10 school buildings, including Central High School.

On Wednesday, another public meeting at Central drew an even bigger crowd at the school, with its future in doubt.

"Central is an anchor to our community," one current student said.

Many more community members stepped to the microphone for public comments following another presentation from the school district.

"We want to turn this place into a community center? For whose community?" one attendee said.

"You guys deserve everything that the other communities have," another person said.

"It would be tremendously detrimental and a tragedy to shut this school down when it is 84% Black," another attendee said.

This decision to potentially close or repurpose 10 schools, including Central, has brought out crowds in droves to not only save this school, but to save what they say is the fabric of this community.

"It would ravage the community," said Garry Cain, a 1976 Central High graduate.

He flew in from Chicago for this meeting to advocate, gather signatures and stand up for his alma mater.

"We oppose the closing of Central, and we hope there is an exhaustive and full and comprehensive evaluation done prior to making a decision," Cain said.

It's after school programming at stake too; more than 80% of the Linwood YMCA's program participants are Central students.

"It's a safe place, a place where you can come in and be provided with a meal, and a place for you to explore friendships," said Andre Sigler Jr., the associate executive director at the Linwood YMCA.

No decisions have been made, but Central's base says the stakes are high.

"This is my hood, this is my neighborhood, I grew up here," another attendee said.