Public Schools Yield to Charter Groups

     ST. LOUIS (CN) – The St. Louis Public School Board lifted a deed restriction that prevented charter schools from buying city school property. The new policy does not require the district to sell to charter groups, but allows it to consider offers.

     School board president Rick Sullivan told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the board bent to legislative pressure.
     Dozens of state lawmakers did not like the abandoned buildings in their districts and two citizens sued over the district’s deed restriction this month, claiming it violated constitutional protections for free speech and assembly.
     The restriction stated that no property the district sells can be used as a primary, elementary or secondary school of any kind for 100 years.
     Groups trying to form charter schools called the restriction an attempt to prohibit competition at the taxpayers’ expense. Lawmakers turned up the heat, saying the abandoned buildings promoted crime and vandalism.

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