The American Federation of Teachers has awarded a national grant to AFT St. Louis, the St. Louis Public School District and Harris Stowe State University to create professional development programs for early childhood educators.
Each year, more than 2,000 children attend pre-K in St. Louis Public Schools. Through the program, pre-K teachers and paraprofessionals will receive training in early learning so that students have a strong foundation for later learning.
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."
St. Louis Public Schools teacher Alice Lee speaks against possible layoffs of her and other library media specialists in the district. Superintendent Kelvin Adams delayed presenting the budget to have more discussion with the teacher's union.
Saying the process of collaboration is not what it should have been, St. Louis Public Schools superintendent Kelvin Adams delayed tonight presenting his budget for the 2011-2012 school year.
The budget is likely to include layoffs and the closure of as many as three schools. Letters have already gone out to the parents at Bunche and Stevens middle schools, and Kottmeyer Big Picture High School, and library and media specialists from the district were out in force to protest the possibility that some of them may lose their jobs.