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Charter school supporters travel to Jefferson City

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – A group of citizens from St. Louis traveled to Jefferson City today in hopes of gaining support from state officials to allow abandoned school buildings to be turned into charter schools.

The state-appointed board that currently runs St. Louis schools follows a policy that prevents the sale of closed school buildings to other educational entities, such as charter schools.

Bishop Reynolds Thomas, who pastors a church in St. Louis, says waiving the rule could help clean up neighborhood blight.

"With the advent of these deteriorating building(s), it only invites children to come in, gang members to come in, use the facilities for purposes that was totally unintended for them," Thomas said.

Russell Thompson is President of the Missouri Board of Education.

"It's my preliminary thought that the Board has no jurisdiction over this, but we'll look into it and see what we can do about it," Thompson said.

The state-appointed Special Administrative Board does have jurisdiction. A spokesman says the board plans to discuss the policy at a future meeting.