I found myself trying to avoid words like division, separation and even line. Yeah, all of that is exactly what the Platte County R-3 School District must do: draw a line to divide Platte City and separate its elementary students into two logical groups.
That’s just not the message that needs to be conveyed.
Ever since voters approved this large scale capital improvement project last spring, there were changes coming. This seemed one of the most daunting parts of the project, if not the most necessary.
We can argue classroom space and students per classroom and whatever else. Fact of the matter is the R-3 school district is growing, and has been exponentially for some time.
I graduated in 2001. We were the largest class in school history at like 120 or so. I’m pretty sure every class since then has gotten progressively bigger or close to that.
So here we are in 2015, and Platte County has slowly moved further away from its small-town feel while still trying to hold on to that part of its identity. Two elementaries — both kindergarten through fifth grade — seems like the first major change to really show where this is headed.
How many Platte County graduates remember when “the Barry kids” started showing up to middle school dances and intramural sports practices? I know I do.
Remember how weird that was at first?
Well, now students in Platte City could go until fifth grade in three separate groups. There’s that word again, but it’s true.
First, you will merge the Platte City elementary classes and later you will combine Barry School students into the single high school. This won’t be the end of this type of change either.
I’d be willing to bet, even if all the full build-out scenarios take longer than some projections, there will likely be a second high school in this district. I think some school officials would tell you it’s inevitable if they’re being honest.
So this group of 19 members on the boundary adjustment committee have a lot to think about.
In the short term, I’m sure there will be some hard feelings and maybe even some disagreements with the boundary. However, the key was summed up by consultants well at the first meeting: keep the end goal in mind.
Eventually, the boundary will become the norm and will be known to those coming into the district. Just as the reality of a growing, suburban district has become obvious, so will the necessity of lines to divide attendance centers.
Hopefully, those words will stop being so scary.
Speaking of school days, basically every district in the Kansas City metro area canceled classes Tuesday for the Kansas City Royals’ celebration parade through the downtown. As many pointed out, this seems weird that basically a whole city plus its suburbs just shut down every day life to be a part of this.
Platte County and Park Hill were among the first districts to cancel. North Kansas City, Raytown and Kansas City were among those who initially planned to hold class but eventually reversed course due to public pressure
Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo. and Park University in Parkville, Mo. both closed campus.
This was a big deal.
I’m 32 and don’t have memories of the 1985 World Series, and I checked out early to be a part of this so I’m not arguing. I came back to finish up this week’s paper with a lot of thoughts.
I didn’t know what a couple hundred thousand people packed along a 2.3-mile parade route looked like. I still don’t know because despite leaving “early” there were too many shuttle and traffic issues for us to make it close.
I hiked a good 2½ miles from south of Union Station with three kids, my wife and my sister. We never got within 10 football fields of remotely viewing anything, and then we turned around and went back. Caught a lot of the audio from the rally on the radio, and I’m glad I set the DVR to record the parade and rally. Fingers crossed that it worked.
If I could go back, I would’ve just watched it live on television and enjoyed it from afar as best as possible. I’m glad I saw that throng of humanity because it was impressive, but ultimately, that was not worth the trip, not even for a lifelong Royals fan trying to create another memory.
I guess I’ll settle for going to all of the home playoff games this year in person. Rough life, I know.
What the chaos did teach me is simple: Kansas City might be a big city but the combined metro area still wants to function a lot like a small town. Everyone knows everyone, and we all celebrate together.
Or at least we tried to celebrate together, but I’m just not sure there was a logical spot to try and pack that many people for that type of celebration. The love of the Royals literally flooded the streets, caused mass street congestion and left vehicles parked along medians, off the interstate and pretty much anywhere else that wasn’t a part of the actual street.
It seriously looked like a mass pilgrimage with everyone dressed in blue just walking in the same direction. Nobody really seemed to know exactly where they were going, either — just follow the person in front of you until you hit the mass of people.
World Series titles are awesome, but I’m not sure we actually want to do the parade again.
Ross Martin is publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @Citizen_Ross.