KCPS opens enrollment as Benjamin Banneker parents hold out hope for sponsor

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Public Schools has moved to an online-only enrollment option for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year. 

Some charter school parents are holding off on enrolling as they continue the fight to keep Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology open.

Online enrollment is now underway for neighborhood schools. If you walk into the district's board of education building, you'll notice desks and laptops line the hallway. Staff members are prepared to help parents with online-only enrollment.

Garrett Webster is the director of enrollment for Kansas City Public Schools.

"We're looking for all of our families to come and get their child enrolled in school next year," said Webster.

Webster said neighborhood school open enrollment is especially important for the parents pre-k and kindergartners.

"We have just under 1,200 Pre-K slots that include our Head Start program as well as our neighborhood schools. They are given on a first come first serve basis," said Webster.

Alma Brock-Brown has seven grandchildren who attend Benjamin Banneker Academy of Technology Charter school.

She doesn't want to enroll her students in a different school but fears she may have to if the charter school can't secure a new sponsor.

"It's a lot of kids, a lot of families, a lot of lives that are going to change," said Brown-Brock.

The charter school lost it's sponsorship last year and has until June 30 to find a new sponsor for its 350 students.

"We're doing everything in the best interest of the children to stay open. In life, a lot of us have learned that you must have a plan A and a plan B. So obviously, we want Banneker to be their plan A, but just in case we're asking our parents to enroll in another school of their choice," said superintendent Dr. Marian Brown.

Wilma Bishop has two students at Benjamin Banneker Charter. She hasn't started the enrollment process at KCPS but is looking into her plan B.

"We looked at a couple of schools in the area. Right around here, but we would also like to do everything we can to help them stay open," said Bishop.

There are no plans in the works for KCPS to sponsor Banneker Charter, but district leaders are ready to work with parents to help them find the right school if Banneker Charter is forced to close.

Dr. Brown hopes to know the school's future definitely in March.

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