Bob Herman, a St. Louis attorney specializing in constitutional law, says the city school district has not flouted the law. "I don't see a constitutional problem with it," he says. "I see reasons they shouldn't do it, in that it's very shortsighted. They'll create a white elephant, because what else are you going to use a school for?"

Wallace says it's too soon to rule out the possibility that old buildings might someday house the district's own sponsored charter schools — it's done in New Orleans, where the new superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams last worked. "If we do have the opportunity to turn some buildings into our own charters, it wouldn't make sense to sell a bunch of them now," says Wallace.

Still, opponents hope the SAB has a change of heart, especially if the Missouri Senate approves a resolution urging a reversal of the policy, which state senators Jim Lembke and Jeff Smith introduced last week. "I suspect that if they do not willingly change the policy, that there may be some legislation to require that it be done," says Franc Flotron, a charter schools lobbyist.

Rhonda Broussard hoped the Hodgen building would house a charter school.
Jennifer Silverberg
Rhonda Broussard hoped the Hodgen building would house a charter school.

Broussard says she will open this fall — no matter what — likely in a Forest Park Southeast commercial rehab. "The mantra is: Our school is not our building. Repeat that. Inhale. Exhale. But all things being equal, we'd rather our school be nestled in a neighborhood."

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