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Royals would pay KCPS back for taxes lost from new stadium. The schools want more support

Kansas City Star
The Royals have agreed to compensate Kansas City Public Schools for property tax revenue that the district would lose if real estate was taken off the tax rolls in a six-block area to make room for a new taxpayer-owned ballpark for the team, the team and school district announced Thursday.

But in separate news releases, they differed on whether the district will get substantial further benefits, with the team saying that the Royals are open to continued negotiations.

KCPS said that the district was relieved that it would not lose the as $850,000 a year, should the Jackson County stadiums sales tax pass on April 2, allowing for construction of that stadium in the East Crossroads area south of the downtown freeway loop.

The Royals will make up for that loss, as no taxes would be paid on a county-owned ballpark.

The district said KCPS and the Royals “anticipate finalizing terms to ensure the district does not lose property tax revenues” if the stadium is built. In addition, the team has agreed to provide paid internships for three to five students during 10 years of the 40-year life of a new 3/8-th cent sales tax to benefit the Royals and the Chiefs for construction costs, maintenance and operation of a new baseball stadium and renovated Arrowhead Stadium.

But in it news release, the district said it was disappointed that the team would not agree to what KCPS described as any direct, long-term benefits for the district.

Support for education programs is one of the aims of a community benefits agreement that the team announced on Wednesday. But the district noted that “there is no guarantee of support for KCPS.”

Detailed terms of the community benefits agreement are unknown. The agreement had not been publicly released as of mid-afternoon on Thursday.

The Royals said in a broad summary of the document that the team has agreed to contribute $3.5 million a year into a community benefits fund for the 40-year life of its lease with the county. A board jointly appointed by the county and the team would decide how to spend it in areas ranging from affordable housing to public transit, childcare, workforce assistance and benefits for minority- and women-owned businesses.

“As the proposed downtown stadium will be publicly-funded, KCPS requested a Community Benefits Agreement that would have paid for literacy interventionists and high-dosage tutoring,” the district said.

“These programs are currently funded with federal COVID-relief dollars that are expected to expire in June. We also requested financing for the Delano Youth Housing and Supportive Services project, which will house unaccompanied youth living in Kansas City.”

The Royals currently partners with the district on what the district called “various education and literacy initiatives.”

Shortly after the district put out its statement, the Royals responded with one of their own, as did the campaign committee promoting the sales tax.

The Royals said that the team and its foundation have had “a long and successful relationship” with the district and that have from the start of planning for a new ballpark district have wanted public education to benefit from that investment.

“To that end, the Royals will compensate KCPS to ensure there is no revenue gap in addition to what we have committed through the historic $140 million CBA with Jackson County to stand up numerous education-based supports.”

The team went onto say that the organization is “ready to continue constructive conversations as soon as possible” on additional funding for the district.

The campaign sent out background information on the Royals’ contributions over the years to public education. and anticipated benefits from a community benefits agreement.

“This CBA will support community-based organizations that provide education services to accelerate student achievement in reading, math, language arts and science, while a Royals partnership with Cristo Rey School will see through the sponsorship of high school students for a work-study program at the stadium and the Urban Youth Academy,” it said.

Since 2012, the Royals foundation has given out awarded $600,000 in scholarships to students and since its formation has donated more than $25 million in grants, the statement said.

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