District fires 53 teachers, spends $400,000 on fence

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by Chris Nagus

KMOV.com

Posted on February 3, 2011 at 2:51 PM

(KMOV) -- An expensive fence under construction in front of Riverview Gardens High School leads residents to question if this is a good financial decision for the disctrict.

"It's a waste of money," says Fred Paubel. Paubel has lived in the district for 43 years, and thinks the money could be put to better use. The fence in front of the high school is made of brick and iron, the perimeter fence is made of chain link. The total cost for the project is $395,060.

The Riverview Gardens School District laid off 53 teachers last year, the district is not accredited with the state of Missouri.

According to the superintendent, the fence will add to safety and security at the high school, and it was actually approved by the taxpayers. In November of 2009 voters in the district approved Proposition R, giving the district  $15 million for capital improvements. Dr. Clive Coleman says the money will be used for paint, flooring, bathroom upgrades, security cameras, and the fence.

Coleman says he does not have the legal authority to spend the bond money on teachers, and it must be used for capitol improvements. "I would rather spend the money on instructional initiatives, but I don't have the legal right to do so," said Coleman. When asked why the fence in front of the school has to be so fancy, Coleman said they did not want the school to look like an industrial park.

Taxpayers like Paubel are still not convinced the fence will add to safety and security. "I saw them going over the fence in the back" referring to students he witnessed climbing over the chain link," he says. Paubel thought the school looked just fine when there was no fence, and it was easier to maintain.

According to the superintendent, the capitol improvements will not raise property taxes, instead the deadline to pay them back will be extended to 2030.

Have you seen something in the community that has you asking "Is this why we're broke?" email us at broke@kmov.com

 

 

 

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