Unhappy Parents Meet Topeka School Board For Dual Language Program

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- Frustrated parents filled the hallways and waited in line for their voices to be heard Monday.

They all came for the same reason; to let the Topeka Unified School Board know that they think the dual language program at Whitson Elementary should stay.

USD 501 School Board members plan to phase out the program, which teaches elementary students to be bilingual, and they want to expand it to Scott Magnet School instead.

School administrators say it'll be a positive change.

"It's an exciting problem to have, but it is a challenge when you have two programs that are pilots and then you're making a decision about the future of them, " said Superintendent, Julie Ford.

But the Whitson parents disagree. They're upset and this session gave them the chance to make their case: keeping the bilingual program where it is.

"I'm particularly outraged because it is a very valuable program and I think we've been played and quite honestly ," said local parent, Miguel Gonzalez.

"Well, I have to say it's a little unsettling, you know, we didn't get a whole lot of notice when we found out," said a local mother, Kerri Renner.

One issue is that the Scott Magnet campus makes it a farther trip for them, and their children. And also, parents don't want to send their children to two different schools.

"It's probably around 5 miles out there, so it's quite a commitment," said Superintendent, Julie Ford.

Even though this meetings purpose was to provoke change, some parents believe their arguments won't change a thing.

"In all honesty, I feel the decisionhas already been made. They are trying to be nice and do some public relations in the meeting and what not. In all honesty, I would love for them to reverse their decision," said parent, Miguel Gonzalez.

Topeka's district administrators say Spanish speaking teachers are difficult to find and the need for more resources is will impact this decision.