St. Louis Public Radio News
Thu January 29, 2009
St. Louis Public District considers closing 30 schools
By Adam Allington, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – A facilities master plan conducted on behalf of the St. Louis Public School District recommends closing nearly 30 schools and renovating more than 30.
The facilities master plan put together by MGT of America Inc. was presented to the public Thursday night.
Under the phased plan, 18 buildings would be shuttered in phase one, and others would be combined and renovated. No high schools are slated for closure.
Susan Zoller is a consultant for MGT; she said enrollment in the district simply hasn't kept pace with its facilities footprint.
"Our research shows that the average capacity for the district is about 60 percent," Zoller said. "That means about 40 percent of the buildings is excess space."
Special Advisory Board member Richard Gaines said closures are never easy but the facts in this case are unavoidable.
"I grew up in this city, I went to these schools myself, my children have gone to these schools," Gaines said. "But the facts are, in 1989 when I left the school board as an elected member we had 64,000 kids. Now, we've got 27,000 kids in these schools."
The recommendation also calls for building two new schools and renovating 32.
The Special Administrative Board has yet to approve the plan. The board will take public input at two meetings, on Wednesday Feb. 4 and Saturday Feb. 7.