A push to save Cleveland NJROTC High School continued on Saturday.
During a public forum at Vashon High School, students, parents and alumni gave their feedback on the proposed budget for St. Louis Public Schools. Several speakers told Superintendent Kelvin Adams that his idea to close Cleveland NJROTC is a mistake.
Jeanette Culpepper's grandson currently attends Cleveland NJROTC and she has four nieces who graduated from the military prep school.
She said the school’s high academic standards and strict code of conduct are of great benefit to many students.
“Some of those kids are crying out for that kind of surrounding,” Culpepper said. “They don’t want to go to a school where they have to fight before the bell rings. It provides that for them, they don’t have to go all over town to get it. They can get it right here.”
Adams’ budget proposal is now being considered by the by the state-appointed Special Administrative Board, which oversees the district.
Board President Rick Sullivan said he and fellow board members will continue to take public comments into account when considering the final budget for the next fiscal year.
“We wanted to hear what the public has to say,” Sullivan said. “Dr. Adams has proposed a whole host of ideas for next year. I really intend to listen, to hear what the community has to say, listen to the response, as we consider, and debate, Dr. Adams’ recommendation for next year.”
The board was set to meet on March 14, but that date has been moved to March 20. Sullivan said it’s still too soon to know when the board could cast a final vote on the budget for the coming fiscal year.
Other budget cutting measures include eliminating 134 positions, including 82 teachers and 20 school nurses, and encouraging early retirement.
The savings fall into these four categories:
- Staffing reductions, $9.4 million
- Early retirement, $1.2 million
- Non-workforce efficiencies, $2.2 million
- School closings and consolidations, $1.8 million
Spending increases include:
- Transportation for two different “bell” or school start times, $5.7 million
- Adding a bio-medical high school, $500,000
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