Lifewatch: Hospital teachers

Reported by Claire Hosmann - email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

KANSAS CITY, MO (WECT) - Economic pressures are threatening a program for students in the hospital.

The Kansas City, Missouri school district said it is facing a tough budget choice.

19-year-old Amber Colber has sickle cell anemia and has spent her childhood in and out of Children's Mercy Hospital.  Thanks to KC teachers working at the hospital, Amber didn't fall behind in class.

"It's very valuable because otherwise the kids would get lost in the system," said Amber.  "They would come back and have piles of homework."

Amber's mom, Debra, said the teachers helped motivate her daughter to graduate from high school.

"They need that encouragement," said Debra. "Sometimes that's the only face they see when they're in the hospital, so that helps them a lot."

But like many other school districts, Kansas City is facing cuts.  The $167,000 program at Children's Mercy helps students all over the metro, not just in Kansas City.

"You don't want to add stress to their illness by worrying about school, so by taking care of that in the hospital it just eased everything for them," said teacher Kitty Hannan.

The district is not reimbursed for any of the cost of the program, they are responsible for providing funds for the service.

If teachers are cut from the program they would not lose their jobs, but move somewhere else within the district.