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St. Louis School Board Votes to Close 16 Schools

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Interim Superintendent William Roberti (KWMU File Photo)

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – During a meeting brimming with discontent Tuesday night, the St. Louis school board voted to approve a controversial plan to close 16 city schools.

The 5-2 vote in favor of school consolidation followed a raucous evening of public testimony condemning the plan.

Afterwards, interim superintendent William Roberti said despite what those attending the meeting thought, the district is facing a very real $90 million deficit.

"There is no money in this general operating budget and this board didn't create that problem," Roberti said.

"That's on top of the long term issues of really trying to figure out how we can streamline this system and allow this system to live on a general operating basis and provide these kids a better education. We are absolutely trying to do that."

The interim management team running the district says the plan will save $15 million and balance declining enrollments with classroom resources.

But opponents say it will ultimately hurt employees and students. Board members Bill Haas and Rochelle Moore voted against the measure. Haas denounced the majority members who supported the plan.

"This proposal is clearly designed to stifle dissent on the part of Rochelle and myself and will inevitably lead to violence," Haas said. "These are bad, dangerous people and as far as I'm concerned, the sooner the people of the district who care about the district go to court to remove them, the better."

The board will meet again July 29 to discuss changes to staffing levels.

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