WICHITA, Kan. — On Jan. 28, the Wichita Board of Education unanimously approved a plan to eliminate the decades-old practice of busing students based on race for the purpose of desegregation at Wichita Public Schools USD 259.
The move will begin with the 2008-09 school year.
Before the vote, board members discussed the measure. Board of Education President Connie Dietz and Barb Fuller talked about being teachers during the first year the plan was implemented and how it affected them and their students.
Kevass Harding and Lanora Nolan shared their own experiences with being bused for desegregation when they were in school.
Calling the change “historic and monumental,” board members also stated that they are committed to diversity, student achievement and expanding choices for parents.
"It doesn't matter which school it is in our district — we will have a highly qualified teacher who will welcome them with open arms and will teach them. And they will learn," Dietz said. Five community meetings were held in January to inform parents about the plan and to gather feedback. One item that has been added to the proposal based on community feedback is the appointment of a Busing Oversight Transition Committee to monitor the implementation of the plan. A policy on the new committee will be discussed during the board’s Feb. 11 meeting.
Superintendent Winston Brooks' final report to the board, including a summary of community feedback, can be found on the district’s Website at www.usd.259.com/news/busing/default.htm.