Critics bash St. Louis plan for contractors in city schools
- St. Louis, Mo., Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams' plan to have outside contractors operate at least a dozen city schools saw backlash at a public forum Saturday.
- Members of the city's elected school board, who have seen their power diminished by a "Special Administrative Board," were among the loudest opponents to the plan present, and they were especially critical of that board's president, Rick Sullivan, not being present.
- Some are comparing Adams' plan to the city's attempt a decade ago to have businessman Bill Roberti turn around the district's financial issues, but he failed to do so even with significant budget cuts, layoffs, and school closures.
As one might expect, Adams was dismissive of the criticism. His plan would see $6.3 million in funding moved to 6,300 students at the district's 18 lowest-performing schools, funding longer school days, reading and math specialists, and tutors, social workers, and nurses; if that effort failed, the private contractors would come during the 2015-2016 school years. The elected board's president referred to the move as "outsourcing" school management.
Given the elected school board's loss of power to an appointed special board and the potential for private contractors to be brought in, this plan won't win any support from those concerned about public education falling victim to private interests — but they likely won't be involved in the decision-making, either. The special board will vote on the plan in April.
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