State votes to close Gordon Parks Elementary, cites low MAP scores

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Classes will end indefinitely at Gordon Parks Elementary School on Wednesday, May 22.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to shut down the school on Tuesday because of low MAP test scores, according to Douglas Curry, president of the charter school's board.

Curry explained the school is a much-needed resource for its students, many of whom start out below their grade level. He said 76 percent of the kids who attend have special needs, and 98 percent are on free or reduced lunch.

"We received a half-million dollars this year to improve academics, and our internal reports and reliable indicators show that we actually had a lot of gains this year," Curry said.

News of the closure was received with tears from students and concern from parents, who thought their kids would be attending the school through June.

"It's going to be a burden. We will have to find somewhere to go, like real fast ... within a week's time," said Joya Trice, the mother of a kindergartner at the school.

"Do we make a difference? Yes. Has progress been made? Yes," said outreach coordinator Wadandra McBride, who cried while hugging some of the students.

The Department of Education released the following statement about the closure:

"After careful review of the Gordon parks elementary charter school, the state board of education voted unanimously not to renew its charter school application and strongly urged the sponsor to close the school. since 2007, academic performance at the charter school sponsored by university of central Missouri-Warrensburg has been significantly lower than public schools in Kansas City and throughout Missouri."

Nearly 50 paid staff members will lose their jobs when the school closes.

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