Kansas City's school board narrowly voted to close 29 of the city's 61 public schools after an emotional, standing-room-only meeting last night. The measure, a desperate attempt to prevent a projected $50 million budget shortfall, passed 5-4 despite pleas from parents and community leaders to keep the schools open, the AP reports.
The closures, which follow years of declining student numbers as students left for private and charter schools, will take effect before the start of the next school year. Teachers at low-performing schools will be forced to reapply for their jobs, and a quarter of the district's 3,000 staff will be cut. "My analogy is we took a meat ax to the district," said one board member who voted for the closures. "Now we have to figure out how to sandpaper it into place."