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St. Louis Public Schools hear public comments on school closure plan in online public forum

The school board is scheduled to vote on the plan on Dec. 15

ST. LOUIS — Teachers and retired teachers turned out at Clyde C. Miller Academy Tuesday night to greet St. Louis Public School Board members as they arrived for a school board meeting.

The teachers were there to voice their opposition to a district plan to consolidate schools, which would result in the closing of 10 schools.

The proposed consolidation would close six elementary schools — Clay, Dunbar, Farragut, Ford, Hickey and Monroe.

It would also close one middle school, Fanning.

And it would close three high schools: Cleveland, Northwest and Sumner.

Carla Bonds is a teacher at Monroe Elementary.

“I love Monroe,” she said. “It’s a neighborhood school. Our children need us, we need them. And you’re about to make me cry. We have an exceptional, exception principal.”

Monroe teacher Lexi Lane said, “I’m here tonight because our students matter. I think our school is really, really important to our community in Dutchtown.”

At the public forum, a moderator read questions from district parents and Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams and school board members provided answers.

One of the questions was how have the resources been used going forward or considered in the current context of the school calendar year?

Adams responded, “There will be no fiscal impact on any school based on this year's budget, but this will all impact 2021-2022.”

Some of the demonstrators outside objected to having this meeting now, in a national pandemic, when it has to be in an online forum. They also objected to the notion of eliminating space in a school district when health experts emphasize social distancing.

Retired teacher Velma Bailey said, ”Tonight, the board is not allowing anybody in. If you want to make a comment you have to go online and make it.”

American Federation of Teachers Local 420 Spokesperson Byron Clemens said, “There are issues about space. We don’t know what that will look like after the coronavirus.”

The school board is scheduled to vote on the plan on Dec. 15.