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Parents Unleash Anger Over Ladue Teacher Lay-Offs

Michael Calhoun
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A speaker walks to the podium to discuss proposed teacher lay-offs during Monday's meeting of the Ladue School Board (KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

A speaker walks to the podium to discuss proposed teacher lay-offs during Monday’s meeting of the Ladue School Board (KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

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LADUE (KMOX) – Parents in the Ladue School Disrict shook their fists and raised their voices at board members, in the face of proposed teacher lay-offs.

“This is the richest school district around! Why are we having this conversation?” one questioned at Monday night’s meeting.

Lay-off notice was given last Friday by pulling teachers out of class, informing them and then sending them back to finish the day with their students.

Students described teachers, including one with a “half century” of experience, returning to their kids with tears in their eyes.

“I was horrified,” a parent said, to hear about it all.

Students responded with a protest before class Monday morning.

“In hindsight, we could have handled this better,” superintendent Marsha Chappelow said at the meeting. “I do not like for students to get involved with adult situations,” she stated, as her reaction to the protest.

“We would prefer to be treated as adults in matters that directly pertain to our school,” one student retorted.

PHOTOS: From the Ladue board meeting >>

A father confronted the board with figures showing the Ladue district as having the lowest tax rate in St. Louis County, despite having the most affluent population, with an average, household income of nearly $150,000 per year

“You should not be making these kinds of decisions without going to the people and asking them for an adequate amount of money to run this school district,” he said to a sustained round of thunderous applause. He proceeded to rattle off a list of neighboring districts with higher tax rates.

Ladue hasn’t asked voters for an increase since 1992.

A mother, meantime, accused the district of missing a deadline for stimulus funds. She claimed the $400,000 in question would have been enough to prevent the planned seven teacher lay-offs.

“What were you guys doing? What were you doing?” she asked, to more applause and cheering. “Did we let teachers go because of your mistakes?”

Another parent wondered why teachers bore almost the entire brunt of the budget cuts, saying the district has been “administrator heavy” in recent years.

The board did approve the recommendations for the budget, but will get the chance to do some fine-tuning over the next few months.

Members did not address any of the accusations leveled by parents, but promised to get back to each in writing.

A district spokeswoman later told KMOX that the board “would do it tomorrow” in regards to putting a property tax increase on the ballot, if members felt there was a good chance of it passing.

Copyright KMOX Radio

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