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STL School Board passes budget, will privatize custodial jobs

Superintendent Creg Williams (UPI file photo/Bill Greenblatt)

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis School board approved a $455 million budget at a special meeting Tuesday night.

Among other things, it provides $6 million for teacher raises this year, as well as a bit of extra money for reading and music programs.

Superintendent Creg Williams said despite rumors, there will be no teacher layoffs or school closures.

"We have a total of 206 vacancies in our elementary schools," Williams told the board Tuesday. "We've already recruited or hired 55 new teachers, which means we still have 151 vacancies in our elementary schools."

The board also voted to outsource 300 custodial jobs, and reduce the number of engineers responsible for boiler maintenance from 26 to eight.

The engineers union says the district is reneging on its contract with them. But some board members say the move will save several million dollars.

Board member Bill Purdy, though, thinks outsourcing is a bad idea. "I don't see how you can take a pot of money that you have for a service, transfer some of that money to a company, and then in turn have the same level of service and get morebang out of your buck."

Purdy also says the new budget is full of errors and inconsistencies, and neither he nor the public got much of a chance to review it before it was passed.

The budget passed was for the fiscal year that started two weeks ago.

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