With potential school closing looming, parents voice opposition

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ST. LOUIS – If you were to ask anybody in this meeting how much St. Louis Public Schools mean to them, they’ll more than likely give you an earful.

“Very tenured in the St. Louis Public School. My children were raised in the public schools,” said 18th Ward Committeeman Rev. John Watson. “My family was raised in the public schools. I grew up in the Ville.”

So, the thought of up to 20 schools being on the chopping block isn’t sitting well with many who hold schools like Career Academy and Sumner near to their hearts.

“20, that’s a lot of schools,” said Watson. “I don’t know how we develop out community and bring our community back without strong schools.”

Currently, the district’s enrollment is at an all-time low dipping to under 20,000 students.

Superintendent Kelvin Adams is pointing that, shortages in personnel, and low performances in Math and English as the driving factors for the potential decision.

“Many people don’t understand what’s actually happening in a real way in individual schools in term so resources and individual challenges” said Adams. “So, we want to give them all of that information and say okay, now that you have the same information I have what would you recommend.”

In an effort to create a dialogue with the community, 6 workshops are being held to discuss what some say is inevitable.

The first at Clyde C. Miller Career Academy last Saturday and the second at Vashon High.

“To close the schools or the possibility thereof is very frightening for our students and our neighborhood schools we’ve fought so hard to implement throughout the years,” said Dr. Anitra Arms, educator. AFT St. Louis, Local 420, a teacher’s union, passed out to attendees what they’re calling their saving grace for the district.

It’s a 5-point plan that includes enforcing discipline policy, smaller class size, targeted quality professional development, small social-emotional learning communities and full-access pre-school beginning at age three.

“I think that it could help, but not just the awareness of it as well,” said Dr. Adams. “It’s about us continuing the relationship with the school district.”

At this one, no one knows what could be on the horizon for several popular St. Louis city schools, but it’s at least the majorities hope that closed doors aren’t involved.

The district isn’t giving a scope of what schools could potentially be closing, but there’s still time to have your voice heard at home.

The next meeting is tomorrow at Metro High.

• Wednesday: 6-8 p.m., Metro High, 4015 McPherson Avenue.

• March 7: 10 a.m. to noon, Carnahan High, 4041 South Broadway.

• March 11: 6-8 p.m., Soldan High, 918 Union Boulevard. 

• March 12: 6-8 p.m., Roosevelt High, 3230 Hartford Street.

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