‘I have kids that need to eat’: KCPS superintendent explains why he didn’t cancel classes Thursday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- While many metro schools opted to cancel classes for Thursday, Feb. 22, Mark Bedell, the superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools, decided it would be best if students and staff in his district did go to class.

Bedell called FOX4 live during the 8 a.m. newscast to explain his decision.

"We have crews that go out, and they survey the streets, the parking lots," Bedell said. "They did a thorough job of looking at the conditions this morning. So what we generally do is, we will have our conversations around 4 or 4:30 in the morning. And based on the assessments that we made, we felt that conditions were not as bad as what's happening in some of our other surrounding school districts--especially out in the Northland. So we felt we could go to school."

Bedell said he's received mixed reaction in regard to his decision.

"I have people who are saying good job for having school today," Bedell said. "I have people saying, 'why on Earth are you having school ?' I have to make the decision based on the assessments and the systems that we have in place. I don't want to be in a situation where I'm deciding not to have school based on everybody else making decisions that to me were right decisions based on where the assessment they made in their systems."

According to Bedell, he was also concerned for students who rely on the free and reduced lunch plan to eat each day.

"I serve a school district of 100 free and reduced lunch students," Bedell said. "I have parents that have to work. I have kids that need to be educated. I have kids that need to eat. I have to make those decisions."

The KCPS superintendent stuck by his decision to keep schools open during his conversation with FOX4.

"Do we have some slick areas," Bedell said. "It's not 100 percent, but the conditions to me are right for us to have school today."

Watch the video above for Bedell's full interview with FOX 4.

Bedell did reschedule the community conversation scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 22. That will now take place Tuesday, March 6. The time and location remain the same: 6 to 8 p.m. at the Kansas City Public Library North-East Branch, which is located at 6000 Wilson Road in Kansas City, Missouri.