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Parents Concerned About KCMO School Closing Plan

Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.
Audria Royster is going into sixth grade at McCoy Elementary School in Blue Valley.
Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Kansas City, MO – About 150 people packed a meeting room at the Kansas City Missouri school district headquarters last night. Many came to protest the closing of about a dozen schools. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross was there.

School officials presented a slightly different plan from the one that was discussed at budget workshops last week. Most of the parents at the meeting who spoke were there to defend Longan, a magnet school in Hyde Park, or McCoy Elementary in Blue Valley. Longan parents were concerned that their children would not maintain the French immersion curriculum in a new building. And McCoy is one of the few schools in the district which is meeting federal standards. Debbie Bruckmeier said closing McCoy will hurt both the children and the neighborhood.

"If you close McCoy this will be the second school in what, half a mile, that's closing," Bruckmeier said.

Interim Superintendent Clive Coleman said the consolidation is a necessary response to declining revenue and enrollment.

"This past year, we lost more students than we did in any other year up until the year of 1999," Coleman said.

District officials say academic performance and building conditions are the key factors in their recommendations. They say they'll take parents comments into account and will release a revised proposal on the school district website this weekend. The school board plans to make final decisions on school closings, and next year's budget, at the board meeting next Wednesday, June 24.

Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.
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