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SLPS drops deed restrictions on closed schools

By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The Special Administrative Board of St. Louis Public Schools has lifted deed restrictions prohibiting the sale of closed city schools to charter schools.

With 17 schools slated to close over several years, legislators concerned about the blighting effect of empty buildings in their districts threatened to pass legislation barring the restrictions.

School CEO Rick Sullivan said the board was under pressure to lift the restrictions or face legislative action forcing them to do so.

"I think the board felt that after various discussions with legislative leaders in Missouri that there was a way to compromise this, find a good solution that worked for everyone. I think we attained that," said Sullivan.

Critics of the move say the board caved to pressure from private interests seeking to set up charter schools.

Byron Clemens of the St. Louis Teachers Union accused both the board and politicians of meddling.

"This is just a direct result of outside interests really interfering with the district, whether its in Jefferson City or special interests," said Clemens.

But district CEO Rick Sullivan says the board is only required to consider offers by charter schools, and will likely hold on to many of the moth-balled schools for future enrollment increases.

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