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Examiner
  • What becomes of McCune's teachers?

  • The planned closing of the McCune Residential Center is having ripple effects in the Fort Osage School District as it is left to find places for staff members currently teaching at the facility.

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  • The planned closing of the McCune Residential Center is having ripple effects in the Fort Osage School District as it is left to find places for staff members currently teaching at the facility.
    The 16th Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri announced earlier this week that it would be consolidating residential treatment services at Hilltop Residential Center in Lee’s Summit. That means McCune, which is in Eastern Jackson County and in the Fort Osage School District, will close Dec. 31.
    “We are disappointed to learn of the county’s closing of McCune School,” Fort Osage Superintendent Mark Enderle said. “The educational staff has a long tradition of providing a quality education for the young men of McCune and for instilling a sense of hope and purpose for their futures. We have enjoyed our 30-year partnership with Jackson County Family Court and are sad to see it come to an end.”
    The facility, once called the McCune School for Boys, opened in 1909. It serves young men between 13 and 17 years old who have gotten into trouble with the law and is operated by the Family Court Division, part of the 16th Judicial Circuit.
    The court said decision to close was made, in part, because McCune was “no longer financially supportable.” The demand for secured facilities has gone down in recent years as other programs– such as the court's juvenile detention alternatives program – have succeeded. Currently, only 20 boys are at the location.
    While the Family Court Division operates McCune, the Fort Osage School District provides educational services to the residents. Stephanie Smith, public information director for the district, said there are 11 Fort Osage staff members employed at McCune this year. Of those, seven have tenure, which means the district is required to find another position within the district for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year.
    “It isn’t as easy as placing them in another position,” she said. “Because of No Child Left Behind, there are certain requirements we have to meet. We know we need to look at our options in finding other places and responsibilities for the staff.”
    Smith said the ultimate goal would be to find a place for all 11 employees. However, she said some teachers, including those not at McCune, could lose their jobs through a Reduction in Force because of the situation.
     
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