ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - The St. Louis Public Schools Board has voted to close or consolidate eight schools.
The vote, which came just before 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night, approves a plan to consolidate or close the following schools:
- Cleveland ROTC
- Carnahan will transition to a middle school
The board also voted to delay the decision on whether to close Sumner High School to March. The closures will take effect for the 2021-2022 school year.
The original plan called for the closing of 11 schools. The board planned to vote on the closures in December, but delayed that vote by a month.
The district says the closures are necessary due to the declining population. Enrollment for K-12 dropped below 20,000 students for the first time in a century.
By closing schools, Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams says the resources for the district’s other schools will increase, giving them the ability to add additional AP courses, electives, nurses, security officers and reading coaches.
The district has been working on a closure plan since 2019 but many community members got involved this year, some presenting alternative plans to the board in hopes of keeping neighborhood schools open.
“We already have empty houses, vacant houses, vacant lots and we just don't need another vacant building in the neighborhood,” said Carla Alexander, who lives next to Dunbar Elementary School in in the Jeff Vander Lou neighborhood of north St. Louis.
The district already has more than a dozen vacant buildings for sale, many have sat vacant and dilapidated for years. The school board said discussions must take place to ensure these most recent closures do not fall to the same fate.
In addition to voting on the closures, the school board added on several amendments, calling on the City of St. Louis and the community to stop decades of disinvestment in the public school system.
The board is asking for a resolution from the Board of Alderman to put a moratorium on any new schools until there is a city-wide plan. They are asking for a development of a plan for schools from the new mayor that must be in place by Fall 2021.
Finally, they are asking for a plan to address TIFs and tax abatements which impact property taxes that help fund the pubic school system.
Read more about the details of the consolidation and closure plans along with the reasons for each here.