For now, the portion of the St. Clair R-XIII building that used to house the local Wonder Bread/Hostess Cakes business will remain vacant, but long-term plans may include occupation by a St. Clair school district club or sport.
The building located at 440 E. Gravois Ave. became vacant in November when the parent company filed for bankruptcy and went out of business.
The outlet store had been a staple in the St. Clair community for 52 years. Its closing meant the loss of 13 jobs.
When the store was operating, the St. Clair school district already was using part of the building for storage. That will continue.
But during the December R-XIII board of education meeting, Superintendent Mike Murphy said the future of the old business space has not been discussed in detail.
“Several people are interested in knowing what we’re going to do with the space,” Murphy said, adding that the store portion currently is vacant.
“We haven’t rendered any decisions,” he said. “In the short term, we plan to use the space as it’s designed and will entertain ideas to use it that way over the next six months.”
The superintendent did say a couple of short-term possibilities are to expand the district’s storage capabilities or to allow an extracurricular program to use the space. He mentioned wrestling as one option.
Currently, the Bulldog grapplers practice in the St. Clair High School cafeteria.
Murphy said in the future, he will discuss long-term options for the facility with board members.
He also said since Wonder/Hostess moved out, it will cost the district about $15,000 in rent through the rest of the fiscal year.
Murphy also discussed the school district’s annual audit. He said the audit was clean.
“The audit did not disclose any noncompliance which is material to the financial statements of the district,” the last page of the document read.
The audit was performed by Catlett & Associates LLC of St. Peters.
As far as the statement of receipts and disbursements, the beginning of the fiscal year showed a total fund balance of $13,138,136. The fund balances for the end of the year were $6,060,929.
The R-XIII school district operates with four funds: general, teachers, debt service and capital projects.
The board unanimously approved the audit.
As part of its consent agenda, the board also approved a sequestration resolution that urges Congress “to amend the Budget Control Act to mitigate the drastic cuts to education that would affect our students and communities and to protect education as an investment critical to economic stability and American competitiveness.”
There was no discussion about the resolution, but language in it states that the Budget Control Act of 2011 includes a provision to impose $1.2 trillion in across-the-board budget cuts, including education, to almost all federal programs.
“These across-the-board budget cuts would impact education by a reduction in funds of 8.2 percent or more and could result in larger class sizes, fewer course offerings, possible four-day school weeks, loss of extracurricular activities and teacher and staff layoffs,” the resolution reads, adding that the St. Clair R-XIII School District would be impacted. “States and local governments have very limited capacity to absorb further budget cuts from sequestration as St. Clair R-XIII School District has already implemented cuts commensurate to state and local budget conditions.”