Skip To Main Content

Landing Nav


The Birth of KCKPS

Consolidation Act of 1886

The Formation of USD 500-KCKPS

The Kansas City, Kansas school district came into existence in 1886 as the result of the Consolidation Act, which combined the cities of Wyandot, Kansas City, and Armourdale (including Riverview and Armstrong). The school district was comprised of nine consolidated schools and were organized under the leadership of the County Superintendent, John W. Ferguson. The school district had an enrollment of 3,643 students and employed 56 teachers.

Those schools were:

  • Armstrong (1873)
  • Barnett (1880s or possibly earlier)  
  • Central (1868 - Huron Square)
  • Chance (1882)
  • Everett (1881 - picture at left)
  • Lincoln  (1857)
  • McAlpine (1885)
  • Riverview (1882)
  • Wood (1871)

The unification formed a city of the first-class known as Kansas City, Kansas covering 10 square miles.

The first School Board Members - 1886

 J. M. Squires, President
W. J. Brouse, Vice President
S. W. Day
N. P. Northrup
J. F. Nettleton (resigned - replaced by W T Mead),
E. P. Godwell. 

(In 1885, a new law was enacted by the legislature to cut the number of board members from twelve to five.)

More Early Schools

Riverview School

Riverview School, located at 7th and Pacific, was one of the nine original schools when Wyandotte, Kansas City, and Armourdale were separate cities. The school was built in 1882 and used as an elementary school for one year before adding high school grade levels. The original bell and steeple were removed after a lightning strike around 1900. In 1908, Freemont Street was graded and paved, and the school grounds leveled, which left the school building high above street level. A retaining wall was then built around the entire property. In 1916 when Junior High schools were inaugurated in Kansas City, Riverview was changed from an eight grade to a six-grade school. Grades seven and eight were moved to Central Junior High School. The school closed in 1977 and the building was razed. The site was deeded to the city and is now the site of the Pala Vista homes. 

Columbian School

Facade of the old Columbia School

Columbian School operated beginning in 1886 and was located at 519 Seminary (current corner of South 7th St. and Southwest Blvd.). It and closed after the 1965-66 school year and the building was demolished in 1966.

Bruce/Lincoln School

facade of the old Bruce School

The Bruce School was constructed in 1888. The school was located at the southwest corner at 24th and Strong Avenue. The two-room frame building served African American students in grades K-5. During the school's early years, high school pupils attended classes in two rooms upstairs until the completion of the new Argentine High school building in 1908. The name was changed to Lincoln, when the City of Argentine was annexed in 1910.This elementary school was the oldest building in the public school system when retired from service by the Board of Education in June 1961. It was replaced with the completion of the new Emerson school and the addition made to Stanley School.11

facade of the Bruce/Lincoln School


1890 - Douglass Elementary School

Facade of the old Douglass School

Douglass Elementary School, located at 9th and Washington in Kansas City, Kansas, was constructed in 1890 and named for abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The Douglass school served African American students. The building was demolished in 1962 to make way for the new Douglass Elementary which opened in 1963.

Early KCKPS By the Numbers

For the year 1886-87

  • Cost per pupil was $11.40
  • The maximum yearly salary paid for teachers was $720
  • The entire budget for the school year was  $41,533 
  • The first graduation class consisted of eleven girls.

For the year 1886-87, the cost per pupil in the grades was $11.40; in 1910 (24 years later), it was $24.06.

Maximum yearly salary paid for grade teachers

  • 1886 = $440
  • 1910 = $720,
  • 1932 = $1788

Maximum yearly salary paid for high school teachers

  • 1886 = $720,
  • 1910 = $1395
  • 1932 = $2508

Total School Cost

  • 1886 = $41,533
  • 1910 = $576,042.70
  • 1932 = $2,008,620.80

Average number of Students per Teacher, based on enrollment

  • 1886 = 66
  • 1910 = 38
  • 1932 = 36.4

Teachers employed

  • 1886 = 55
  • 1910 = 366
  • 1932 = 669 (including teachers, Principals, and supervisors)

Next: At the Turn of Our First Century