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St. Louis Public School District kicks off Prop S campaign for $155 million school bond issue

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 20, 2010 - The measure on the Aug. 3 ballot for a $155 million bond issue for St. Louis Public Schools is officially called Proposition S, but for parent activist Curtis Royston III, the real name should be Proposition SOS.

"This is about Saving Our Schools," he told a campaign kickoff rally Tuesday at the school system's headquarters, 801 N. 11th St. downtown.

Speaker after speaker told the crowd that with school buildings that average in age at 72 years, the school district desperately needs to update its facilities to help students achieve in a safe, nurturing environment.

"Facilities say a great deal about what people think about an institution," said Superintendent Kelvin R. Adams, noting that the bonds would not require a tax increase and would include a one-time chance to use proceeds from the federal stimulus package.

He wanted to make sure that everyone in the room worked to get out a positive vote on Aug. 3.

"It's easy to talk and say yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah," Adams said. "I need your support. This is not for me. This is not about me. This is about the kids in our community."

Sharon Carpenter, the city's recorder of deeds, recalled her time spent in front of a classroom, telling the crowd that "what I know about teaching is that the teacher and students perform best in a clean, safe environment. No one performs well when the paint is peeling."

She noted that she has spent many years modernizing her office, updating it with state-of-the-art electronics, and she needs graduates from the city schools who know how to operate the equipment.

"When your child is learning and the teachers are teaching in an environment that is good," she said, "we will have a city we can be proud of."

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