KANSAS CITY, Mo. — FOX4 is getting answers after parents of special needs children reached out, saying their kids were being moved from their Pre-K school this upcoming year.

Tuesday, Kansas City Public Schools said the students would not be moved, for now.

Finnese Bluett said her son, Avery, has autism and global developmental delay. The 4-year-old attends Pre-K at Holliday Montessori School.

KCPS says these classrooms are part of a separate pre-K program that happens to be housed at Holliday.

“He loves kisses and hugs,” Bluett said. “He loves music. He’s just a joyful kid. You have to go through the emotions of, ‘Will my son be able to do this in life or this in life?’ And right now, they’re messing with his education.”

Bluett is referring to concern she says formed among teachers and parents that special needs children in the Pre-K program would have to be moved due to space concerns.

Bluett said while attending the program, Avery’s verbal and social skills have improved.

“Since he’s been going to that school, and the teacher that he had, and the help that he had and the environment he’s in, I would say has helped him tremendously,” Bluett said. “He has flourished.”

FOX4 first reached out to the school district about this last week.

Representatives say due to a new Montessori certification program to train teachers this upcoming school year, they need the space.

They explored moving those two remaining pre-k classrooms- involving kids with special needs- to another school, but Tuesday the district sent FOX4 a statement reading in part: “While we ultimately decided not to make the move for the upcoming school year, we know we will eventually need additional classroom space for the Montessori program at Holliday. When the time comes, we will work closely with affected families to ensure continuity of services,” Public Relations Manager Elle Moxley said.

Bluett worries that won’t be permanent.

“He’ll have to fight for things in his life, and he shouldn’t have to fight for his education,” Bluett said.

Full statement:

KCPS has an incredible opportunity to bring the Association of Montessori Internationale into Holliday for teacher training during the 2022-23 school year. Usually, Montessori certification is a 2-year process that requires educators to commit to three summers of out-of-town training, so we are so excited to be able to provide this opportunity to KCPS teachers and others in our region. 

However, this has created a need for additional classroom space at Holliday. For many years, Holliday has hosted a separate KCPS pre-K program for 3- and 4-year-olds. In recent years, we have been gradually transitioning these classrooms back to Montessori use. We explored the feasibility of moving the remaining two pre-K classrooms to another elementary school in the south zone, but as this relocation would have involved students with disabilities, we knew we had to conduct an extensive site evaluation first.

While we ultimately decided not to make the move for the upcoming school year, we know we will eventually need additional classroom space for the Montessori program at Holliday. When the time comes, we will work closely with affected families to ensure continuity of services. We will be continuing these conversations about expanding access to early childhood education as part of Blueprint 2030.

Kansas City Public Schools

📲 Download the FOX4 News app to stay updated on the go.
📧 Sign up for FOX4 email alerts to have breaking news sent to your inbox.
💻 Find today’s top stories on fox4kc.com for Kansas City and all of Kansas and Missouri.