After 68 years of serving families in Kansas City, a Waldo neighborhood school is closing its doors.
Parishioners of Christ the King Church were told Saturday the school's students will be searching for a new school come fall.
The church's priest broke the news to the whole Christ the King parish during 4 p.m. mass Saturday, and there were a lot of sad people walking out about an hour later, not ready to see the school go.
Christ the King School has been running at 85th Street and Wornall Road for 68 years, with thousands of kids coming and going. But church leaders said the student population has been steadily declining and has now reached a point where they can't afford to stay open past the end of the 2012 academic year.
It's surprising news to a lot of parents who've been working with church and school leaders to try to stay open. They'd developed a plan to combine some grades. A couple teachers were already planning to leave - making that change easier - and parents were offering to volunteer more.
They thought that was the next step, so some are frustrated by the news. they said communication has been lacking, and now they don't know what's next or where to send their kids, who are attached to the small, but tight-knit community.
"For us it's the community of people. I know that, if something were to happen in our family, these folks would be here for us. My daughter loves the people that she goes to school with. I think everybody sees these folks as an extension of their family and I just think that the level of education they're getting, the teachers love our kids, they know them all, they know the parents," parent Ana Maria Dean said.
The closing does not affect the infant-toddler center or the Montessori Preschool at the church.
Dean said she's hoping to save more than that. She's vowing to keep trying, and she wants to get some parents together with the diocese to see if there are any other options.
KCTV5 has not been able to reach anyone from the diocese. Calls have not been returned, and church leaders at Christ the King can't comment. But in the letter church officials sent to families they said they will do whatever they can to find new parochial school placements for their students and staff.
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