School Privatization at Neighborhood Level

How does your neighborhood association support the public schools within or near its boundaries? In Lafayette Square and Soulard, they don’t. They do, however, support private charter schools*.

This weekend was Lafayette Square Neighborhood Association’s Patriot Day Run. It was a fundraiser for LSNA, BackStoppers®, and Charter Athletic League, founded at Lafayette Preparatory Academy.

Lafayette Prep is a private charter school located in Lafayette Square. The school is considered an important neighborhood asset and is on the agenda for monthly LSNA general membership meetings.

According to LSNA Board Meeting Minutes, fundraising for Charter Athletic League is not the first time LSNA financially supported private schools. In March 2021, they donated $250 to Lift for Life Academy fourteen blocks away in Soulard/Kosciusko neighborhoods. In March 2022, Lift for Life asked for $1,000. The Board approved $333 and then asked members at the next general membership meeting to donate and reach the $1000 goal.

I looked at LSNA Board and General Membership Minutes for 2021-2022 and found no mention of their closest public schools: Peabody School (it is mentioned on their website’s resources for residents page), seven blocks east, and Sigel School, seven blocks south.

Humboldt School, St. Louis, 19th Century
Humboldt Public School, St. Louis, 19th Century

Soulard has a longstanding relationship with the neighborhood’s two private charter schools- Lift for Life Academy and Soulard School. Some examples. In February 2022, the SRG Board voted to buy a table ($250) for the Soulard School Trivia Night. In May, there was a pitch for the fundraiser at the SRG general membership meeting. Lux Living SoHo Apartments says it will donate $100,000 to Soulard School. Mardi Gras Foundation awarded a grant to Soulard School for landscaping.

There is no relationship between the neighborhood and Humboldt School, Soulard’s remaining public school. aside from Trinity Lutheran, which adopted the school for school supplies, special events, volunteers. Humboldt is five blocks from Soulard School and eleven blocks from Lift for Life.

*Charter schools are private schools funded with public tax dollars taken from public schools.