St. Louis Public Radio News
3:44 pm
Wed July 2, 2003

City School District Wants to Borrow $30 Million

St. Louis, MO – The private company running St. Louis schools wants to borrow $30 million dollars to help close a budget gap.

But the money would come from a desegregation settlement and is supposed to be used just for school construction.

The school board Tuesday night announced a deal in which the state would let money be used for non-construction items.

The money at issue is part of $180 million dollars promised to St. Louis schools in the 1999 desegregation settlement. According to it, the funds can be used only for school construction.

Last night, the district's school board announced a deal with Missouri's attorney general that would let the school system borrow the money to cover general operating expenses. The deal calls for an agreement by October first on a repayment plan.

An attorney in that desegregation case is questioning the deal's legality, but interim Superintendent William Roberti says the city's schools are insolvent and they need the money.

The baord also said Tuesday night it could release as early as next week its list of school buildings it may close. Administrators say some schools must close to help erase a $90 million budget shortfall.