Like most places, Kansas City MO offers pros and cons for potential home buyers. So many of the city’s amenities are here: the Country Club Plaza, Power and Light entertainment district, several museums and theaters, the stunning new Kaufman Center for the Performing Arts, Stowers Institute, the University of Missouri Kansas City..and more. You can live in a condo downtown, or in a charming 1920s bungalow in Brookside. Negatives include a high crime rate, an earnings tax and the KCMO public school system, which once again is in danger of losing it’s accreditation.
Last week, the Kansas City Star featured a front page story “Housing Market Reflects School Woes”. This story focused on a Brookside couple who has been trying to sell their house for over a year, and emphasized how the school district’s problems will even further spurn buyers away from buying their home.
As a Brookside resident and agent who sells many homes in the area, I am actually amazed at how Brookside remains a very desirable location for home buyers, despite the reputation of the public schools. The majority of buyers for this area already know the troubled history of the school district but want to live here anyway. Buyers appreciate the older homes,and tall,mature trees, the ability to walk to Brookside shops and restaurants, the Trolley Track Trail …they like the friendliness of the neighbors, the proximity to the Plaza, museums, the Crossroads district and downtown. Many buyers are single, newly married with no children, or empty nesters moving in from bland suburbia. There are families with children here–who attend private schools or the excellent French immersion charter school, Academie Layfayette. Some do attend KCMO public schools.
Of course it would be better for Brookside residents if the school district had an excelllent reputation. And it’s true that some buyers specifically bypass the area due to the public schools. But it’s a tribute to the local homeowners and business owners who keep Brookside one of the best places to live in the city. The reason that house hasn’t sold in over a year isn’t solely due to the poor school system. I’m guessing it’s a challenging location, priced too high, or needs much updating. Even if the school system improves–the house itself has to be desirable, not just the location.
Good points, Mary. Certainly there are some daunting challenges in this area, but it sure isn’t Detroit or Vegas.
I’m not buying Helling’s premise – today’s accreditation issues are no more a deterrent to buying in this area than decades of school board rancor, revolving door of superintendents, and the negative national attention the desegregation case have been. It’s just a new take on an old problem that people have been completely aware of for years. We moved to Armour Hills 30 years ago, from Mission (in the vaunted Shawnee Mission School District) when our kids were preschoolers. I’d visited the public grade school where my daughter would have attended, didn’t like it, and we decided we’d rather live in a neighborhood and home we could love and have some choice in Catholic or private schools if I didn’t like these public schools either. The kids are now grown and gone (and perfectly well educated!) and every day I take the dog for a walk in this beautiful neighborhood I am reminded anew how fortunate I am that a trip to a Kansas school I didn’t like sent me here.