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SLPS sued over deed restrictions

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Two charter school supporters have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn restrictions the St. Louis Public Schools have on sales of their old buildings.

The appointed board overseeing the district will not allow shuttered buildings to be used as schools for 100 years. The lawsuit filed by libertarian political activist Rex Sinquefield, who has helped fund local charter schools, and a like-minded lawyer, Bevis Schock, says the restrictions are unconstitutional because not all buyers have an equal chance to make a purchase.

"This is a governmental entity which is restricting access to people who want to start, for example, charter schools," said Josh Schindler, the attorney representing Sinquefield and Schock.

Schindler says the two men will be affected as city taxpayers because the restrictions narrow the number of people who can purchase the old buildings, making it harder for the district to get a good deal when it is struggling with a $35 million deficit.

"By not getting as much money as they can for these properties, there will ultimately result in a direct expenditure or loss of funds generated through taxation. Or there may ultimately be an increase in a levy," he said.

District officials would not comment on pending litigation. The restricted deeds may come up for discussion at the administrative board's next meeting.

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