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School Board Offers Reoganization Plan

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – An often boisterous meeting of the St. Louis school board Tuesday night gave the public a chance to hear about the reorganization plan offered by the interim management team now running the district.

The team says it has streamlined operations by reducing the number of people who report directly to the superintendent.

In terms of instructional improvements, educational adviser Rudolph Crew says the district's ability to deliver books by the first day of school will be a critical benchmark of success.

"If we can't actually have materials in teachers' hands on the first day, then actually kids are doing the right thing in many cases by not even showing up," Crew said. "Because in effect if we're not ready, then they have every reason not to be ready."

The team also proposes closing an undetermined number of schools that are underused or too expensive to maintain, an idea some parents resist.

Officials are hosting a series of public information meetings on the matter this week. The first will be tonight (Wednesday) at 6:30 at the Gateway Institute of Technology.

Last night's meeting came hours after a federal judge denied an attempt to stop the district from borrowing some desegregation settlement funds.

U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Limbaugh says St. Louis school officials should be allowed to borrow some of the $180 million that's been set aside to acquire land or build new schools.

The School Board says the money is needed to keep the district operating. Another hearing in the case will be held July 21st.

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