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Report shows Longfellow Elementary School too costly to maintain

Longfellow carbon monoxide leak 3
Posted at 10:56 AM, Oct 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-19 17:57:41-04

KANSAS CITY, MO — When it comes to maintaining Kansas City Public Schools, Longfellow Elementary School has one of the highest maintenance bills.

Coupled with low enrollment, Longfellow is one of 10 schools KCPS has proposed to close or repurpose.

That's according to a report issued last week during a meeting on Blueprint 2030, which is the school system's strategic plan for “accelerating academic achievement and enhancing our student experience.”

On Wednesday morning, seven students and two adults were transported to Children's Mercy Hospital for suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.

"We know that when you operate older facilities, especially those that operate on a boiler system, that these problems are more likely than if you were in a newer school," the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for KCPS says that the district had its contractor at the school last week in anticipation of the colder weather. She said the district will take the necessary precautions to make sure this does not happen again.

"We're going to make sure that we find out what happened in this case and that it doesn't happen again," she said. "Our student's and our staff's safety is our top concern."

The KSHB 41 News I-Team is looking into the school's most recent fire inspection reports. KCPS district officials confirmed the school had working carbon monoxide detectors.

Out of the 10 schools KCPS plans to close or repurpose, Longfellow Elementary is the second costliest to upkeep.

The Blueprint 2030 report shows Longfellow has a maintenance deferred cost of $6.55 million.

The report lists two bullet points explaining the rationale for closing the school:

  • District projections show a reduction in elementary school student enrollment, requiring fewer total elementary school facilities.
  • The facility is underutilized and has high deferred maintenance for a building with lower capacity. Other elementary schools throughout the district are better positioned for potential future district growth.

Aging buildings and declining enrollment are both reasons the district is chose the 10 schools.

The school district has proposed to transition Longfellow in the fall of 2023.

Students would transfer to Garcia and Hale Cook Elementary.