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Parents offer input to state on Kansas City School District's future

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Kansas City School District Superintendent Stephen Green visits classroom Kansas City School District Superintendent Stephen Green visits classroom
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education officials and other local officials have grappled for decades over the future of the Kansas City School District.

State officials are considering additional oversight of the often-beleaguered district or potentially breaking up its central office structure.

Some want to see individual schools given ratings on student performance rather than the district as a whole.

On Wednesday night, a public hearing was held at Paseo Academy. An overflow crowd attended.

The goal of the meeting was to find out what parents think about current proposals for Kansas City Public Schools to regain accreditation.

Parents did not hold back.

"They really are not familiar with all the different issues and the appropriate matters on what could be done to utilize what we have," said parent Maxine Williams.

Six plans to regain accreditation have been submitted by various stakeholders, including KCPS Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green and an outside agency hired by the state board of education. That plan calls for eliminating the local school board and having principals run their own schools and budgets. That didn't sit well with one parent who spoke out.

"It is very much a dismantling of the district. Even though they're getting nonprofit organizations to sponsor schools, it's not much different than privatization," added Nicole Puryear.

The state insists no plan is being favored over others, which is why DESE is holding four meetings across the state in unaccredited districts.

"We really want to hear what parents have to say, what the community has to say on all of the areas we're looking at," said DESE's Sarah Potter.

But some parents who spoke said they believe the state should have been more involved early on, and is partially to blame for the current crisis.

"What kind of help were you giving these school districts all along? If a public school system works in a suburban area, why can it work here?" questioned Puryear.

The state Board of Education has until Feb. 10 to review the plans.

On Feb. 18, the board will present its recommendations, and could potentially vote on a plan moving forward, or table the issue until March.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.). All rights reserved.

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