Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Public Schools Must Believe in Children

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Public Schools Must Believe in Children

Article excerpt

The city school system faces many very crucial issues in the future. The population demographics for St. Louis indeed contain many illusive variables. There are questions as to whether population will increase or will diminish. We have more than 13,000 students leaving the city each day and participating in the voluntary transfer program to suburban schools. If some, most or all of those students return to our school district, there are most serious implications in terms of having adequate building space to house the students.

The fiscal stability of St. Louis is also a major factor in terms of long-range planning. Over 40 percent of our income still is derived from local and county resources. In recent years, the growth income from local and county levels has not kept pace with inflation. There is also the very important issue of recruitment of new employees for our school system. We have many individuals who are in the later years of their careers.

By 1994-95, over one-third of the enrollment of the school district will be attending magnet schools, schools of choice. This is quite a different approach from the typical neighborhood school selection that for many years was the most important aspect of a public education. There are many parents who want a school of choice as opposed to a neighborhood school. The extent to which this concept has expanded in our school district is indeed a major issue involving long-range planning.

The future of the St. Louis Public Schools system is really the future for many youths in our city. We have gone through great pain and turmoil in this district in the last three to four years. We've had large numbers of involuntary leaves of absence. We have had reductions. We have had elimination of programs. We have had much fiscal uncertainty. The strength of the St. Louis Public Schools system very simply is the strength of staff members who care about children and respond to the needs of children.

Our school system has a sense of direction. …

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