Parents React to Plan to Merge Campbell, McGregor Schools

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The  Springfield R-12 School District is planning to consolidate two elementary schools.

The district proposed Tuesday night the possibility of moving Campbell Elementary students into McGregor for the 2018-2019 school year.     

Both schools are nearly 100 years old. Campbell possibly even older, but it's not the infrastructure that is an issue. 

The main concern administrators say is the declining enrollment at Campbell Elementary with only 133 students.

The district says merging the schools would help stabilize those low numbers. 

"We see this as a win-win, for teachers and for students," said Carol Embree, deputy superintendent of operations with SPS.   

The idea is to move K-5 currently going to Campbell into the newer and bigger McGregor building, which was rebuilt in 2002. 

The schools are less than a mile apart -  about a three-minute drive. Embree says Campbell would then become a pre-school for up to 200 students. 

"We have a need to provide for early childhood students in our community," said Embree.   

The district would include a pilot transportation program to take kids to Campbell. 

Other benefits according to the school district is that at McGregor students will have multiple classrooms per level grade, before school programs, and music, Phys. Ed.  and art teachers won't have to spend time between the two schools spending more time at one location. 

Some parents are not happy with this plan.

"If we have this many Head Start or Kindergarten, why can't we just leave it as a regular elementary school, because we're still using it as a school," said Mary Brennfoerder,  who is also a volunteer at Campbell. 

"A lot the kids call me Ms. Mary and I love it because you get to know them personally," she said. 

She wants that same one-on-one interaction between students and teachers. 

"I believe we should keep some of our smaller schools for some of our kids who need a little extra help," she said. "Teachers can get to know their students, too." 

 Embree says teachers at Campbell will be able to apply to transfer to McGregor or to another position within the district.  Administrators say they don't expect anyone to lose their jobs.

A Greene County resident who says he attended Campbell in the 90's has started a petition to keep this consolidation from happening. However, there are still a few things that need to happen before this is finalized. 

On Feb. 20 the board will decide if they'd like to move forward with this plan. If so, then a public meeting will be held on March 8. And the board will vote on the merger on March 20. 

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