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Private Firm to Lead St. Louis City Schools

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – A private firm will run the St. Louis City Schools for at least 13 months.

In a special meeting Friday, the School Board approved an agreement to pay New York-based Alvarez & Marsal at least $5 million to act as interim superintendent.

Five of the board's seven members approved the plan to hire the so-called "corporate turnaround firm." Board President Darnetta Clinkscale said that will not mean closed-door decision making.

"We have every intention of opening this up so that the community is engaged in this process of determining what it is the community wants for the public school system," Clinkscale said.

Board member Bill Haas abstained from the vote, saying the plan's financial picture is unclear. Rochell Moore was the only "no" vote. She said a private company does not belong in public education.

"Private management firms are in the business of making money," Moore said. "Their bottom line is making a profit, and we're concerned about educating children."

Moore also said the school board did not obey Missouri public meeting laws in making the decision.

Alvarez & Marsal will start Monday, June 2.