Millions of dollars – plus 2 cents

Our legislators who want to give state money to charter schools should all have to take a course to study the Kansas City Public School system. A federal Judge decided to give Kansas City unlimited money to solve the segregation and other issues.

Kansas City built new buildings, called magnet schools to attract students from around the suburbs and anywhere in the state.  One of the schools had an Olympic-sized swimming pool with both an underwater viewing room and underwater photography classes.  Another magnet school had a television and animation studio.  There was a 25-acre wildlife sanctuary, a zoo, an agri-business school with a working farm where students raised pigs, sheep and harvested and sold produce. 

A school for the arts included sculpture, painting, set design and everything from singing to playing the violin.  Aspiring actors could study drama and dance, then take trips to New York to view Broadway shows.  Foreign languages were taught by teachers who came from the different countries. Then, field trips were taken to the different countries to see if students could speak the language properly. The teacher/student ratio was 1 to 12. The school budget was $300 million per year – or $11,700 per student.

All of this effort by the judge was a dismal failure. Test scores did not improve, the ratio of multi-cultural students did not change. 

I wrote many articles criticizing this $2 billion experiment, and I also criticized the lawyer, Arthur A. Benson II, who was responsible. It took me a couple of months to get the Kansas City school board to tell me they had paid Benson $6,663,832.02, which I criticized in an article. 

Looking back, I now feel he was underpaid. If anyone would give me $2 billion dollars, I would pay them a lot more than that. However, I have often wondered what the two cents was for.

Jack can be reached at P.O. Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075, or  Visit

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