Parents turn out for meeting on future of Southwest High - KCTV5

Parents turn out for meeting on future of Southwest High

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Uncertainty is settling in for hundreds of Kansas City students who could be forced out of their school.

Southwest Early College Campus has been plagued with problems from fires being set on purpose to a brutal sexual assault.

In the 1990s, Southwest became a charter school. When that effort failed, the charter school shuttered its doors in 2005. The district reopened it as Southwest Early College Campus in 2008.

Now, there is a push to change it to an international magnet school. But a lot of students who already go to Southwest wouldn't be able to attend.

About 30 parents, students and community leaders turned out to offer thoughts on the Kansas City School District's plans to turn over operations at the high school to Academie Lafayette, a charter school.

The first public meeting was held Thursday night at the Southwest Early College Campus in Brookside.

Some are concerned about the proposal. Students would have to meet academic requirements to get into the school much as is done at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy.

"I've been part of this school since the sixth grade. This is me. This is my second home," Lateef Kane said.

Kane will be a senior, so the change, proposed for fall of 2015, won't affect him, but he worries about the lower classmen.

"I don't want to see my classmates just thrown out of this building," he said.

However, testing in is not the only concern the way the merger is currently proposed.

Academie Lafayette is a French-immersion public charter school. It currently serves students from kindergarten through eighth grade. The new school would serve students from ninth through 12th grade.

Those about the enter the eighth grade have the option of testing in to the new school. But those entering ninth, 10th and 11th will have to transfer. And some parents don't like the transfer options available for their children.

"My concern is he's left with the other options which are Central, Northeast or the other East High School, the other schools on the list, which are still not good schools," parent Tanika Evans said.

Thursday's meeting was just the first of four forums to discuss concerns. The board isn't expected to make any decisions until the fall.

Superintendent Stephen Green says it is a good fit.

Another issue is the staff would change. But Green says KCPS staff would be considered for open jobs within the district.

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KCTV5's Betsy Webster and DeAnn Smith contributed to this report.

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