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Group lobbies to keep Cleveland High open

Cleveland High School
Cleveland High School

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – A group in south St. Louis is trying to prevent the city school board from closing Cleveland High School.

District officials say the building is unsafe because of water damage and other maintenance issues. And it needs $20 million dollars worth of repairs.

But retired social studies teacher Mike Pfefferkorn says closing Cleveland or using it as anything other than a school would hurt the neighborhood.

"Social institutions are people, and schools are people," Pfefferkorn said. "They're communities within their own. And those kinds of things you need to keep a healthy environment in a broader neighborhood. This isn't simply just this general area right here. This is the entire south side."

A group called the Alliance to Save Cleveland High says the district's $20 million repair figure is high, and it wants an independent maintenance review.

However St. Louis Public Schools spokesman Tony Sanders says finances are tight, and keeping kids safe is the district's main priority.

"We know that there's a lot of historic value in the building, that different community groups are concerned about the building closing," Sanders said. "But our biggest concern has been the students."

The school board is likely to decide the future of Cleveland High sometime this month.