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Longfellow Elementary parents voice concerns about school closures ahead of KCPS vote

Posted at 9:59 PM, Jan 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-24 23:30:23-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Public Schools district board will decide whether or not to close Longfellow and Troost Elementary during a meeting Wednesday night.

It’s a big shift from the original plan to close 10 schools, but parents still have questions about what's next for their kids.

Longfellow Elementary School parents say they are doing everything they can to keep each other prepared regardless of the vote.

“Our staff and administration is what keeps these kids happy; they skip and run into the school,” said Arlene Byrd, a Longfellow Elementary parent. “We want to explore all possible options before closing the doors to a long history of Longfellow elementary."

On Tuesday night, Byrd called a parent-led meeting for families of Longfellow Elementary.

KSHB 41 talked with her back in October when a possible school closure was first announced.

“We are worried about our community and our staff; we want to make sure our staff is taken care of as well,” Byrd said at Monday night's meeting.

Longfellow parents expressed their concerns about the closure to KCPS interim superintendent Dr. Jennifer Collier, staff and KCPS board members.

Specifically, they're worried about their children's well-being, progress in school, location of the school and faculty.

“We have 34 days until February 27 — that is the district’s policy for enrollment,” Byrd said. "What schools are realistically available for our children where all of them can thrive and be together."

Collier said closing schools is a challenging decision and she’d like to keep the community together.

She acknowledged the recent academic success of Longfellow Elementary, but says the closure comes down to the poor condition of the building.

"If we have to do this, how do we keep this community together and long-term bring this community back to this site," Collier said.

With the vote tomorrow, parents just want to know how to prepare.

“If it goes through with a yes, I won’t feel defeated,” Byrd said.

KCPS maintained that teachers and staff will all be retained.

In Tuesday’s meeting, Collier said that based on KCPS seniority, they’ll have the first pick of open jobs.

Previously KCPS told parents that they would be getting help with the transition to a new school including a team of helpers, open houses, a student pen pal program and a hotline.

The board is expected to make its decision tomorrow evening.