Neighbors fight to save Thacher Elementary School

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Neighbors have pits in their stomachs over the thought of losing Thacher Elementary, but there is new hope now that the Kansas City Public School district gave residents two months to find an answer.

The two-month extension came after Dorri Partain handed over a petition with 200 Indian Mound neighborhood signatures to stop Thacher from being demolished.

The century-old school suffered heavy damage from fire and vandals and district officials want it gone before they reopen Northeast Middle School in the fall, which sits on the same property.

Across the street, Joe Vento holds his barber shop's clippers and hopes his elementary school will still be standing next year.

"If they could salvage it, I'd love it," he said. "I lived two doors down from Thacher when I was a kid."

And Vento never left. His barber shop has been serving the neighborhood and very loyal customers for 57 years. He understands the problems the school district faces; he just wishes his history didn't have to die with the solution.

"When that's gone, it won't look like my neighborhood," he said.

Those two months came with no promises from the district. If the community doesn't come up with a viable plan by the end of February, district officials said they will likely move forward with demolition of Thacher to make sure the property is safe and secure when Northeast Middle School reopens in August.

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