USA Today cites Shawnee Mission district in story about decreasing racial segregation

A USA Today story published Wednesday uses the Shawnee Mission School District as an example of how minority families leaving inner-cities impact the surrounding community’s demographics.

The story focuses on Kansas City and how racial segregation in the metro area has plummeted over the course of the past decade. It notes that as troubles with the Kansas City, Mo., School District increased, more and more African-American families have moved out of established black neighborhoods and into the suburbs:

Already, enrollment at the Shawnee Mission School District in Shawnee, Kan., a western suburb just over the Missouri state line, is dramatically different from just a few years ago. In the 2010-11 school year, black enrollment was 8.1%. In 2003-04, it was 6.7%. Hispanic and Asian enrollment also grew while white enrollment fell from 82.9% to 67.7%.

Former teacher Joann Boyd, 61, is a retired guidance counselor for the Kansas City, Mo., school district. She was one of the first blacks to move to Overland Park, Kan., in a neighborhood of duplexes in a suburb that was among the nation’s fastest-growing in the late 1990s.

“You’re going to see more of that,” Boyd says. “Everybody wants the best for their children. Parents, even though a lot of them are on welfare, a lot of them have low-paying jobs, they still have the same goal. They want their child to have the best education and a safe place to live.”

Boyd welcomes the growing diversity in race and income in her community.

“It’s good,” she says. “In the ’70s when I first moved here, it was almost like I was the only one. I wasn’t as comfortable then. It’s like home now. There are more people like me here.”

Read the whole story here.