I was sad to learn that Christ the King elementary school in Waldo is closing at the end of the school year. Located at 85th and Wornall Road, this school has been an anchor for the neighborhood for almost 70 years. Student enrollment has steadily declined over the past few years and it is no longer financially possible to keep the school open. Fewer than 100 students had enrolled for the 2013-2014 school year.
On a positive note, Hale Cook Elementary is pushing forward with its plans to open in August. Although the first year the school will operate at Hartman Elementary, the Hale Cook building at 73rd and Pennsylvania will be used in the 2014-2015 school year. Hale Cook is a public school, operated by the Kansas City MO school district. It is reopening after ten years not due to the efforts of the school district, but because of community volunteers, lead by Brookside resident Ashley Hand. Ashley and her group realize the importance of having a well managed and education focused school within the neighborhood to serve the families who live nearby. This school will succeed because of strong parent involvement and support.
According to the US Census, 77% of school age children in the 64112 and 64113 zip codes attend private schools. This means their parents or guardians spend thousands of dollars each year on tuition. Having another public elementary school option (besides Border Star) will encourage residents to stay in our area. Currently, many families move to Kansas (or pay for private school) because the KCMO public schools are not accredited.
I don’t think any of the Christ the King school kids will be able to switch to Hale Cook–as Hale Cook is starting with kindergarten classes at first. These parents will be scrambling to find a spot for their young ones next year; there are some options. Christ the King school will be missed in Waldo–just as the opening of Hale Cook is welcome.