Three schools would be closed, and several others would undergo vast transformations, under a $273 million dollar budget proposal unveiled last night by St. Louis Public Schools superintendent Kelvin Adams.
The proposed spending plan also marks a shift in budgeting philosophy for the district. Money in the past has been distributed to schools based on the number of people that work in the building.
Starting next year, the money would be allocated as a grant to schools based on several factors, including the percentage of special education and low-income students, average daily attendance, and whether the school is a magnet/choice school. Within reason - for example, they'll still have to meet state class size limits - principals will be able to set their own staffing plan.
"The whole challenge for a principal is to have ownership, and have control of the resources," said Adams, a former principal. "If I decide I want to have a larger third grade class - I have a great, dynamic third grade teacher, I'll put that teacher in that classroom," Adams said. "But I may have a smaller fourth grade class because maybe things aren't working as well in my fourth grade group."
The Missouri Senate has passed a funding plan for public schools as it begins debate on a $23 billion proposed budget.
A Senate budget bill approved Wednesday would provide schools $3 billion in basic aid next year - the same amount as this year but an estimated $179 million less than called for under the school funding formula.
Legislators and Gov. Jay Nixon say the state cannot afford to pay schools the full amount they are due.