ST. LOUIS – The plan to close or restructure 11 public schools in St. Louis City took one more step to becoming a reality Tuesday night.
The meeting about a consolidation plan was virtual. People had to submit their questions to be read.
The sun could soon set for the last time on Sumner High School. The consolidation plan calls for it to close. And alumni are not happy about that.
“It’s historical, it’s very historical,” said Antonio Seviere, Sumner class of 1996.
It was the first African-American high school west of the Mississippi River.
“Keeping this school open in this community will bring so much more,” said Jackie Carter, class of 1997.
St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams said the board has been examining data for two years to determine how to offer the best opportunities both academic and socially for students and make resources go farther. There are too many old school buildings that are expensive to take care of and too few students.
The proposal calls for closing six elementary schools, one middle school, and three high schools. A fourth high school will become a middle school again.
The virtual town hall meeting got off to a rough start.
A microphone was open somewhere else and made it difficult to hear but after about 10 minutes, it cleared up.
Dr. Adams and board members answered parents’ questions read by a school official.
Question: What will happen to juniors in dual programs this year?
Dr. Adams said juniors in dual programs won’t be affected at all.
Question: Should (parents) be allowed to vote, these are our children?
Dorothy Rohde-Collins, the board president, said it’s the responsibility of the board as an elected body of the city.
Five criteria were used to score each school to determine which to close: enrollment, building condition, current capacity, special programs, and neighborhood impact.
For the past several days, some 600 people submitted comments to the board.
Board members planned to make a final decision on Dec. 15 but new Congresswoman Cori Bush asked the board to offer more meetings to get more input from citizens.