Hearing begins Thursday to decide future of Gordon Parks Elementary School

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Thursday, parents and teachers associated with Gordon Parks Elementary School hope a judge will side with them in keeping the school open.

The state of Missouri ruled that it would not renew the school's charter back in May.

The state concluded that Gordon Park's test scores are consistently lower than other schools in Kansas City. Officials also cited high staff turnover.

Yet, teachers say the scores don't tell the whole story.

Supporters say test scores don't take into account everything the school does for its students, who typically have to overcome much more difficult circumstances than those at other public schools.

Many of the students come from low-income areas of town and 95 percent qualify for free lunch.

Tamara Allen-Williams, a 3rd grade teacher at Gordon Parks, says the school provides help that other public schools wouldn't provide.

"We take care of the families," she said. "If our families need food, we send home food. If our families need pampers for babies that don't even go here, we send home pampers."

Thursday morning is the final hearing in front of a Jefferson City judge.
The judge will make a final decision regarding the school's charter for the fall.

Even if the school's charter is reinstated, Gordon Parks will likely have a smaller class size this fall because many parents have already chosen new schools for their children and several teachers have found new jobs.

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