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School Board Approves Budget

Interim Superintendent Bill Roberti (KWMU File Photo)
Interim Superintendent Bill Roberti (KWMU File Photo)

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis School Board approved a sweeping budget package that eliminates more than 1,400 jobs. The 5-1 vote in favor was preceded by an evening of impassioned appeals from parents and school employees who called on the board not to adopt the budget.

Voting for the budget were Darnetta Clinkscale, Vince Schoemehl, Bob Archibald, Ronald Jackson, and Amy Hilgemann. Rochelle Moore voted 'no.' Bill Haas was not there.

The St. Louis teachers union met with district officials earlier in the day, and said they had made some progress in discussing employee benefits.

Radio talk show host and activist Lizz Brown warned teachers that the interim management team isn't telling the truth.
"If they're not going to tell you the truth, if they're not going to negotiate in good faith; if they are precluded emotionally from negotiating in good faith there's only one thing to do," Brown said. "You've got to shut it down!"

School board president Darnetta Clinkscale says that the district will continue to assess its decisions as it moves forward with the budget plans.

Two particularly contentious parts of the budget call for outsourcing some positions and requiring students to walk further distances to bus stops. After the vote, board president Darnetta Clinkscale acknowledged criticisms that the decision process was not inclusive.

"And I realize that we should have probably in an ideal situation done something different as far as community engagement. And it is my pledge that we will do that going forward."

Some parents and community leaders warned the board that if it passed the budget, they would protest by encouraging students and teachers not to come to school.