Parents rally to help staff at closing school

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Friday is the last day of classes -- ever -- at Christ the King Catholic School. The school is shutting down because of declining enrollment. And that's leaving many teachers without jobs. But parents say that problem goes even further.

"We've all since found places to go for our kids," said parent Christopher Haake.

But for many of the teachers and staff, it's quite a different story.

"It's really sad. Some of these teachers have been there for 34 years. My daughter's teacher has been there for 34 years and it's going to be hard for her to find a job."

Under Missouri law, because the school is a church organization, it's not required to fund unemployment benefits for the faculty. Teachers will only get a severance package for up to three months.

Once parents found out, they decided to fundraise on the staff's behalf, calling it the "Crusader Fund."

"I think they'll be really excited. They'll feel like somebody has their back because I don't think anyone has for a long time."

The goal is to raise $50,000. Parents are collecting money by mail and through their website, crusaderfund.org.

"The only teacher that I saw that found out about it yesterday just started crying. They didn't know we were doing it. We kept it a secret on purpose," parent Teri Renner said.

Jack Smith, Communications Director for the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph says he thinks it's great the parents are stepping up. He said the diocese is also doing their part by trying to find new jobs for the displaced teachers and staff, which also include maintenance and cafeteria workers.

"Right now, I think three have jobs, a fourth is interviewing at another school today," Smith said. "Some of them are going to be retiring and they will also receive a severance package."

With only one day of class left, parents are just happy they can help.

"It's a parish family and now many of them are leaving for different parishes, but this will continue to be a part of my family always."

To learn how you can help, click here.

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