Blue Springs School of Economics
200 NW 14th Street
Blue Springs MO 64015
Workers making snacks to sell at their store
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 224-8171
Mission Statement
The mission of the School of Economics is to provide high quality, reality-based educational experiences that prepare young people to understand and apply basic marketplace concepts and skills, and expose them to business-related careers.
CEO/Executive Director Sue-Ann Johnson
Board Chair Tyler Knott
Board Chair Company Affiliation Bank 21
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1994
Former Names
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement The mission of the School of Economics is to provide high quality, reality-based educational experiences that prepare young people to understand and apply basic marketplace concepts and skills, and expose them to business-related careers.
Background Statement

The School was established in 1994 as a 501(c)(3) organization by the Blue Springs School District, the city, area businesses, and community patrons. Initial visiting classes were all from Blue Springs, but the facility has evolved into an educational institution which serves the entire Greater Kansas City area.

Over 200,000 students have attended the School of Economics.

Teachers bring their classes on a field trip to the School of Economics for a “real world environment” in which students can apply the concepts, knowledge, and skills they have learned in the classroom. Participation is fee-based from $10.00-$15.00 per student and includes lunch.

The building is leased until 2032 for $1.00/year from the City of Blue Springs, and until 2010, the Blue Springs School District had provided financial support with a “teacher on loan”. Donors, sponsors, and grantors played a big role in creating the School of Economics, but due to school district and state education budget cuts, their support is now critical to maintain daily operations and keep the fees for students low.

Impact Statement
The School of Economics hosts educational field trips every single day of the school year. In 2017-2018, it will provide hands-on business simulations for 12,120 students from 103 public schools (38 different Kansas and Missouri school districts), 32 private schools, and home school groups from the Greater Kansas City area. We have operated at full capacity since 2004 and are celebrating 24 years of teaching financial literacy.
Summer school programs in collaboration with Junior Achievement the past three years have benefitted 1,880 students from the urban core. These students may not have been able to attend the School of Economics without funding grants. Another 700 summer school students from Blue Springs participated in a special program about "My Community" in 2016 and a curriculum is being designed for an upcoming Lee’s Summit summer school event. These new programs make SOE a year-round facility and are made possible by generous donations.
Two $500 scholarships are awarded annually to graduating high school seniors who attended the School of Economics during their elementary school years and are now pursuing business-related careers.
Needs Statement
    • Sponsorship of a grade level field trip for a low-income school:  $1,000
    • Funds to renovate the bathrooms: total project cost $22,500 
    • Two laptop computers for students to use in the "bank", tracking repayment of loans and calculating interest
    • Design or construction services to create new storefronts in the student marketplace
    • Money to purchase daily food and craft supplies for students: $500/day
    Service Categories
    Elementary & Secondary Schools
    Areas of Service
    MO - Eastern Jackson Co
    MO - Jackson County
    MO - Jackson County Urban Core
    KS - Johnson County
    KS - Wyandotte County
    MO - Cass County
    MO - Platte County
    MO - Clay County

    Annually serving approx.

    • 8,200 students from Jackson County, MO
    • 900 students from Clay Co., MO
    • 800 students from Cass Co., MO
    • 500 students from Platte Co., MO
    • 500 students from Wyandotte Co., KS
    • 700 students from Johnson Co., KS
    • Approximately 400 students from surrounding rural counties
    CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement

    Grade-level specific economic simulations are staged each school year. The curriculum spirals to build upon the previous year’s experience and knowledge. The programs are aligned with state grade level expectations and national core standards in education.  The fifth grade program in particular, the International Bazaar, is the climax of classroom learning about economics for most area school districts.
    Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
    Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years), ,
    Short-Term Success

    Quotes from attendees:

    I worked in the bank and was fascinated by everything there was to learn about dealing with money. I enjoyed being involved in other people’s finances which has led me to my career choice. I made my first business card at the School of Economics and hope to soon have the real thing!

    I learned to be a good team player and work well in a group of people all striving toward a common goal. I learned that being punctual in a job, or in any circumstance, is a very important virtue.

    My favorite aspect was being able to see the purchasing power of my hard work.

    Students were given paychecks from the bank and we could use that money to buy food during our breaks. We needed to budget our finances accordingly. We had expenses to pay like taxes and bills.

    Our profits were so great that the choice had to be made between keeping the profit and ensuring (I got) a prize, or giving my workers a pay raise. I decided hard work need to be rewarded and gave the others on my team a raise.

    Long-Term Success

    Today’s global world of commerce more complex and competitive than ever. At the same time, public school systems face a severe shortage of resources. Where will the next generation of consumers and producers learn the skills they need to succeed?

    The goal of the School of Economics is for young people to become financially literate. We want them to understand and be able to apply basic marketplace concepts, make solid economic decisions, and establish a path towards financial independence.

    Program Success Monitored By

    Year after year, teachers bring their students back for "the best field trip of the year". Our rate of return attendance is 98.6%.

    In a recent survey of 165 teachers, two questions pertained to "success":

    • Does…(the) simulation keep students actively engaged while attending the School of Economics? 96.9% "yes"
    • Does…(it) reflect the Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education Grade Level Expectations in the content area of economics? 97.5% "yes"

    Formal assessment of learning takes place in the classroom, before and after the field trip. A visit to the School of Economics is "authentic assessment", in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills.

    Examples of Program Success

    From attendees:

    The School of Economics wasn’t just a fun place to learn important business concepts. It was a spark that led to an interest in a field that I will soon go through six years of schooling to understand.

    I still remember working in the bank and learning how to write checks back in fifth grade...(from an accounting major at MU)...It was really my first hands-on experience in the world of business.

    I had always been good in math but I had never taken a leadership role. My job as the CPA Manager required me to step up and lead and I have continued to seek leadership opportunities.

    That day I learned everything from bank operations to budgeting. The overall experience is a priceless memory of education in a fun-filled event.

    It really opened my eyes to what I want to do with my life…The scholarship will help me pay for my education. My plans are to first gain experience working for a corporation, and then find a niche in a market of my choosing and start my own business.

    CEO Comments
    International Bazaar:
    Ellis Island awaits each busload of "immigrants" who arrive from various parts of the world, often in costume, to settle in New York City and establish a new business. Groups take out a loan to produce and sell food and craft items in nine international shops. They adjust the pricing in response to supply and demand. Every shop pays interest on the loan, salaries, rent, taxes, utilities, and a fee to their private accountant who writes checks and balances the spreadsheet checkbook.
    The students elect a mayor, fill out job applications, and interview for higher paying positions such as bank teller, loan officer, health inspector, and business owner. Everyone earns two paychecks which they cash at the bank and can spend as consumers. The simulation includes lunch purchased from the shops. The field trip concludes with the announcement of which shops paid off their loans and an auction in which the immigrants can spend any profits. 
    Second and third grade students participate in Mini-Town, a marketplace of producers and consumers. This simulation focuses on the responsibility of earning an income, making wise spending decisions on "needs" and "wants", and saving a portion of your money in the School of Economics bank to earn interest until next year's field trip.
    Executive Director/CEO
    Executive Director Sue-Ann Johnson
    Term Start Aug 2010
    Compensation $50,001 - $75,000

    Sue-Ann Brown Johnson has been director of the School of Economics since 2010. She took over leadership of the nonprofit organization during a period of educational funding cuts and made the changes necessary to keep the field trip facility open and self-supporting. Previously, she had been Quality Improvement Manager for Bayer Corporation’s agriculture division, bringing together various business departments to evaluate processes and operate more efficiently. Teaching children is a passion and second career for Ms. Johnson, where she finds great satisfaction in giving young people the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in business.

    Co-CEO/Executive Director
    Term Start 0
    Compensation Last Year
    Former CEOs
    Lydia Jeter Aug 1993 - July 2000
    Vicki Stanton Aug 2000 - July 2010
    Paid Full-Time Staff 1
    Paid Part-Time Staff 4
    Volunteers 3500
    Paid Contractors 0
    Retention Rate 80%
    Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
    African American/Black 0
    Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
    Caucasian 5
    Hispanic/Latino 0
    Native American/American Indian 0
    Staff Diversity (Gender)
    Female 5
    Male 0
    Formal Evaluations
    CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
    CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
    Plans & Policies
    Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Under Development
    Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
    Management Succession Plan Under Development
    Organization Policy and Procedures No
    Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
    Whistleblower Policy No
    Document Destruction Policy No
    Summer programs have been developed with Junior Achievement, Boys & Girls Clubs, Kansas City Public Schools, Raytown Public Schools, the City of Blue Springs, Blue Springs Historical Society, Blue Springs School District and Downtown Alive!.
    Main collaborators are the 500+ elementary school teachers who choose to bring their students to the School of Economics. Support also comes from their building administrators and school districts.  
    Government Licenses
    Is your organization licensed by the government? Yes
    Board Chair
    Board Chair Tyler Knott
    Company Affiliation Bank 21
    Term Aug 2016 to July 2019
    Board Members
    David Brouse Blue Springs R-IV Schools
    Jennifer Oswald Brown Cochran, Oswald & Roam, LLC
    Kay Coen Blue Springs Board of Education
    Mark Foudree Wells Fargo Advisors
    Dayla Fullerton Hope House, BSSD PTA president
    Joe Haney Retired Banker
    Steve Heggs Raymond James
    Lydia Jeter Retired Director, School of Economics
    Cordell Kirk ATK
    Tyler Knott UMKC Law School
    Chris Lievsay Blue Springs City Council
    Marisa Martinez UMB
    Kelly Seitz Lee’s Summit School District
    Board Demographics - Ethnicity
    African American/Black 0
    Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
    Caucasian 12
    Hispanic/Latino 1
    Native American/American Indian 0
    Other 0
    Board Demographics - Gender
    Male 6
    Female 7
    Unspecified 0
    Board Term Lengths 3
    Board Term Limits 0
    Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
    Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
    Written Conflict of Interest Policy? No
    Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
    Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
    Standing Committees
    Advisory Board / Advisory Council
    Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
    Program / Program Planning
    Advisory Board Members
    Dave Meyer Meyer Brothers
    TuJuania Scott CommunityAmerica Credit Union
    Gigi Wolf Federal Reserve Bank of KC
    Fiscal Year Start Aug 01, 2017
    Fiscal Year End July 31, 2018
    Projected Revenue $193,000
    Projected Expenses $193,000
    IRS Letter of Exemption
    Foundation Comments
    • FYE 7/31/2017, 2016, 2015: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990-EZ.
    • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
    Detailed Financials
    Expense Allocation
    Fiscal Year201720162015
    Program Expense$189,687$165,486$208,683
    Administration Expense$0$0$0
    Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
    Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
    Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.001.160.80
    Program Expense/Total Expenses100%100%100%
    Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
    Assets and Liabilities
    Fiscal Year201720162015
    Total Assets$150,798$149,615$123,230
    Current Assets$150,399$148,775$121,773
    Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
    Current Liabilities$0$0$0
    Total Net Assets$150,798$149,615$123,230
    Short-Term Solvency
    Fiscal Year201720162015
    Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
    Long-Term Solvency
    Fiscal Year201720162015
    Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
    Top Funding Sources
    Fiscal Year201720162015
    Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
    Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
    Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
    Capital Campaign
    Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
    Organization Name Blue Springs School of Economics
    Address 200 NW 14th Street
    Blue Springs, MO 64015
    Primary Phone (816) 224-8171
    CEO/Executive Director Sue-Ann Johnson
    Board Chair Tyler Knott
    Board Chair Company Affiliation Bank 21
    Year of Incorporation 1994
    Former Names