SLPS parent forum
10:28 pm
Tue March 1, 2011

Low turnout at forum on changes to the SLPS

To say that turnout last night at the St. Louis Public Schools' parent forum on possible major changes to district policy for next year was low would be an understatement.

Just about a dozen parents mixed in with employees from the district to hear the SLPS superintendent, Dr. Kelvin Adams, discuss those changes. They include a more welcoming stance to charters, possible moves to close and restructure schools that aren't showing improvements in academic performance, additional early-childhood and alternative education options, and some form of single-gender education.

Adams says most of the limited feedback he's gotten about his proposals has been positive, though parents are hesitant about charter schools, which a recent report found are in many cases doing worse academically than the city schools.

He says he's listening closely to all who are speaking up.

"I always welcome feedback, and I always welcome utilizing that feedback to kind of color the conversations around what we need to do and not do," Adams says.

Nora Ryan, whose children and nieces and nephews have gone through the SLPS system, says she's at least glad the district is "actually coming up with some new approaches, and thinking through some of the issues" it's facing. The concept of closing low-performing schools, she says, is a good one.

Parents will have one more public forum this Saturday, March 5, starting at 9 a.m. at Vashon High School. The district's appointed board could approve the changes on March 10th. All of the changes except for the expansion of charter schools could take effect in the 2011-2012 school year.