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City School Consolidation Opponents Pack Two Meetings

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Opponents to the St. Louis school district's plan to consolidate schools were at two separate meetings last night.

The district held the first of three meetings to explain to the community its rationale for consolidating schools.

Officials admit some schools will have to be closed,but parent Stephanie Moore thinks that will only further overcrowd students. "Why is it that the schools are already overcrowded, but yet they're closing some schools down," Moore asked. "Where are those children supposed to go? What happened to the neighborhood schools? The neighborhood school for my child is a 20 minute car drive, and yet there are four schools within walking distance that my child cannot go to and I don't understand that. I need answers."

As the district held its meeting, an even larger group of people met in North St. Louis to voice their protest over the way the school system is being run. Parents, teachers and public officials voiced anger over what they see as the financial mismanagement of the school system and plans by the district's interim management team to close some schools. Speaking about those potential closures, former school board member Bill Purdy says the current board is playing games.

"They keep saying they don't have lists, but lists keep surfacing," Purdy said. "We hear that Nance is on the list. Nance, as we all know is a brand new school; it was just built there's no justification for doing anything like that."

District officials plan to present a final list of consolidated schools later this month. The interim management team estimates the school system's budget is $90 million in deficit.

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