November 19, 2019

KCPS teacher awarded free two-year lease to downtown high-rise apartment

A Kansas City Public School teacher got to see where he'll be living rent-free for the next two years this week.

"It's crazy. It genuinely feels like winning the lottery. I don't know who is more excited -- me or the students," Lincoln College Prep Spanish teacher Seth Oldham said.

Oldham was one of hundreds of Kansas City Public School teachers who signed up for a chance at rent-free living at the One Light apartment building downtown.

It's one of the major components of a partnership between the Kansas City Power and Light District and the KCPS Education Foundation. Power and Light has already pledged $50,000 annually for five years, plus a portion of certain concert revenues.

"There was just something missing. We thought, 'Who takes care of the student? Who are the ones putting forth that effort? It's the teachers," said Rachel Waller, P&L District director of marketing.

Oldham couldn't hold back his excitement when he saw his apartment for the first time Monday.

"This is like the perfect view, thank you. That is amazing," he said to staff shortly after they unlocked his front door.

As excited as he is for the pool and city view, Oldham is equally excited about moving from the suburbs to the city. He teaches at Lincoln College Prep, just eight minutes away.

"It's a game-changer because after school events, it's kind of hard if you live a little ways outside of town to go to work and try to make it home and then come back," Oldham said.

This is the first of its kind partnership for the school district.

"I hope it's just the beginning because you have to have a strong school system to have a strong Kansas City so we hope that more corporations step up," KCPS Education Foundation Director Nicole Collier-White said.

Every teacher with three years experience will be eligible for a chance at free leases at One Light and Two Light for the next five years. Oldham's rent-free apartment will save him $42,000 payments over the next two years allowing him to pay off some student loans.

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