Armour Hills Board Meeting Recap-Feb 2011

Here’s a brief recap of what was discussed at the Armour Hills Homes Association board meeting, February 15, 2011:

*Residents were pleased with the private company who provided snow removal during this year’s snowstorms. Our policy is to order the private service when snowfall reaches 4″ or higher.  Due to the two  heavy snowfalls, we are out of money for snow removal at this time.  I believe we pay  $4000 per snow removal.

*We are trying to organize a meeting at Southwest High School with other homes associations and a representative of the KCMO School District to discuss possible solutions to the continued vandalism and truancy at the school.

*There is a need to keep our website current; Sadie will now oversee the Armour Hills Facebook page.

*Several residents are past due on payments for annual homeowners fees.  Dan will research what other homes associations in the area do to collect past due payments.

*The proposed reopening of the Hale Cook neighborhood school at 73rd and Pennsylvania has about 15% of the needed 300 students enrolled to open in Fall 2011.  The deadline to enroll is March 31.

*A resident is working to stop AT&T from installing more  unsightly concrete pads with control station boxes adjacent to his property at 65th Terrace and Main (similar to the ones located on the west side of Main at 68th St). Although these boxes are in the public right of way and on utility easements, they impede the line of sight for traffic and pedestrians–it is a life safety issue.  The resident is trying to get a ‘code opinion’ from the City attorney’s office. This issue will be brought up to Jan Marcusson, our district representative on the City Council. 

*GEO Bond money is available for the 4th district and board member Gunnar Hand has put repainted crosswalks near the Trolley Track Trail  on the list of funded projects. This will cover an area between 65th St and Gregory on Brookside Road.  Thanks, Gunnar!

*The board discussed writing a letter expressing an opinion regarding the controversy surrounding the new Posinelli building on the Plaza.  This letter would be posted on the website and submitted to various city officials involved with the decision to allow the new building.

*Allen Dillingham attending the meeting, he is running for the 2cd district at-large seat on the City Council.  His platform emphasizes jobs, neighborhoods with community policing and an image makeover at City Hall.

All Armour Hills residents are invited to attend the monthly board meetings.  The next one is March 15 at 7pm.

Thanks for reading my blog–you can reach me at

Hale Cook Open House-January 30, 2011

I attended the Hale Cook open house yesterday.  Even though my two girls are beyond this school, I’m still interested in the quest to re-open a ‘neighborhood’ school for Brookside/Waldo families.  About fifty people attended. 

Derek Richey of the KCMO School Board opened the remarks in the auditorium.  The school needs 300-350 applicants by March 31 to open in the fall–currently there are 20-25 applications submitted. 

Two local Brookside moms gave comments about having children who went through the KCMO schools and graduated from Lincoln Prep Academy.  Patty Mansur and Melissa Ashcraft remarked ‘any school situation has challenges’  and ‘the key is to be involved’.  There are ‘a lot of community messages that tell you it’s risky and not a good decision’ to have your child in the KCMO public schools.  They are both happy with the education their kids had as part of a minority  in the schools–they welcomed the diversity. 

Dr Covington, KCMO School Superintendent, answered one question from the audience (there were only two questions), talking about the pay grade of teachers.  He would like to see a significant jump in pay after 5 years of teaching, instead of the pay jump at 15-20 years, so that the good, eager, younger teachers are rewarded faster for their efforts.  Sounds good–how will he make that happen?  Where will he find the money?

Clearly there is a lot of interest in re-opening this school and I hope there are enough applicants for Fall 2011 classes.  As stated in the program handout, the ‘success and sustainability of Hale Cook will be directly tied to our level of ownership and support and the level to which our parents enroll their children’.  The success of Hale Cook will also depend on how well the school district officials and the local parent group work together. Mr. Richey says Hale Cook has the ‘full support of the administration’.  That’s a good start. 

Visit the Hale Cook website and thanks for reading my blog!  You can reach me directly at

New Neighborhood School? Hale Cook Elementary

It’s well-known that the Kansas City Missouri school district suffers from a poor reputation.  As a real estate agent, I am often asked, ‘what about the schools?’. Answering that one in a diplomatic yet informative way can be a challenge.  I consistently tour houses for sale where the owners want to move to enroll their children in a Kansas school district.  Still, there are options for Brookside/Waldo families…and a group of residents is trying to add another one.

Hale Cook Elementary, at 7302 Pennsylvania, is trying to re-open in the fall of 2011 as a neighborhood school.  It would be operated by the Kansas City MO public school system, with heavy parental involvement.  I believe 300 students need to sign up before the school district will proceed with the details of re-opening the building.  This is GREAT news!

The school would have a pre-K tuition based program, and the elementary classes would run through grade 6.  Boundaries for  the school enrollment: State Line to Holmes, 75th to Brush Creek.  No bussing for these students, but hopefully before and after-school programs, plus art,  music and foreign language classes.  What is so different about Hale Cook is it’s  a community based movement to re-open the school, not a school district directive.  Strong parental input and participation will be expected and required, and these parents will have a say in faculty selection and budget.  Sounds like a promising formula for success.                                                    

Hale Cook Elementary, 7302 Pennsylvania

As a personal interest, I follow education issues closely. My daughter wants to be a teacher, and at one time, I did as well.  In an urban school environment, it’s often the teachers that get the blame for a poor performing student. The pay for performance reform has some merit. I won’t  get into the tenure argument here.  But the emphasis on learning and importance of a good education must come first from the home environment–and that means parents (or guardians) who take an active interest in the child’s education.  By having these local parents band together and actually do something about re-opening a neighborhood school shows the community, and the KCMO school district, that change can happen when parents get involved.  Wouldn’t it be nice if this initiative was coming from the KCMO school district?  Sure.  But I’ll bet you things will move along much faster precisely because the active residents want to make it happen. The big question?  How much of a help — or a hinderance–will the school district be?

Everyone is invited to the Open House at Hale Cook on  Sunday, January 30 from 3-5pm. Stop by, learn more, tour the building,  get involved if you like.  This is the beginning of a story that could provide another option for children in the Brookside/Waldo area.