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Public Comments on Schools Layoff Plan

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Interim Superintendent Bill Roberti (KWMU File Photo)

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis school board heard public comment Monday night on a proposed budget that would cut more than 1,400 full-time district employees and close more than a dozen schools.

Under the proposed budget, 370 non-teaching staff personnel would be laid off in August and more than 700 other positions would be outsourced.

While most comments at the meeting were negative, St. Louis resident Steve Skelton supported the plan, noting that the district spends more than $11,000 per student, only to see them struggle to meet academic standards.

"We are not getting our money's worth," he said. "If that takes closing schools and cutting off support personnel to bring in teachers and educate our kids, I say good." His words were met with boos from the audience.

The proposal also seeks to reduce the number of buses the district uses, and would require students to walk up to one mile to access transportation.

That has parent Maria Parrish-Nunley worried. "Are you going to be responsible for our children if anything happens to them while they're walking a half, three-quarters and one mile?" she asked.

"The majority of the children are latchkey children, and this is the ideal situation for a sex offender. Why? Because now the children have further to walk and there is no one watching him or the children."

School board members will vote on the proposed budget on Wednesday.

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