After the integration of schools, things got worse—not better—for African Americans in St. Louis. A 1971 state statute implemented the seizure of homes with delinquent property taxes, primarily in Black neighborhoods. It’s still in effect. Fully-paid-off homes are taken away, leaving fixed-income seniors/veterans nothing to pass on to their children; each generation must start from scratch. The “bootstraps” argument does not apply when our government keeps confiscating our boots.
Neighborhood schools are essential to our district. When kids get up at 5:00 in the morning to catch the bus to a school across town and don’t get home until 6pm or later… When do they eat? When do they spend time with their families and play with their friends? When do they do their homework? How much sleep do they get? How can they be expected to achieve the learning necessary to achieve acceptable MAP test scores? We give obscene amounts of money to the transportation industry to bus our kids all over the city, yet there is usually a boarded-up school within walking distance of every student’s house, not to mention several boarded-up houses along the way.
We need schools near where families live—especially here on the northside, where fewer of us have vehicles. As your St. Louis City School Board member, I will stop using our children as checkbooks to bankroll corporations. Since 2014, I’ve prevented over 60 homes from going to auction and becoming vacant. I will keep fighting our broken system on all fronts, until every child in our city has access to a quality education in their neighborhood—with ZERO systemic barriers to their potential for success.
#VoteVowell on April 4th!
“It never made sense to take revenue from our schools, give it to the very people discriminating, and force our children to stand at dark, cold bus stops in the early morning and dark night hours in order to receive an equal education. It didn’t make sense, but it made a lot of dollars for those who should have been the last to be economically rewarded.”
— Dr. Christi Griffin – Former Chair, St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency
Read more about how U.S. schools are re-segregating here: