Missouri Minute: St. Louis postpones school closure vote; Cerner makes $375 million acquisition

Hello, MBA readers,

As cities and counties face uncertain budget outlooks and try to rein in spending, a decision over whether to cut costs in St. Louis by shuttering several schools has been delayed. The city’s public school district has postponed a vote on closing 10 schools amid a decades-long enrollment decline. The vote has been postponed 30 days. Closing the schools is estimated to save $3 million. Also in the St. Louis area, the draft of a strategic plan to create jobs in the region is drawing criticism. Some stakeholders are worried that the plan from Greater St. Louis Inc., the region’s new economic development organization, ignores outlying counties in its effort to boost employment. And, despite contractions across much of the economy, Cerner is expanding. The North Kansas City-based health care IT company has made a $375 million acquisition that it says will help facilitate collaboration between researchers and health care providers.


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St. Louis metro jobs plan accused of excluding surrounding counties
The new collaboration Greater St. Louis Inc., set to launch in January, released a draft of the STL 2030 Jobs Plan earlier this month. Critics say it is not geographically inclusive. (St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis Public Schools postpones vote on school closures
A vote over closing 10 schools amid enrollment declines will be held in 30 days to allow more time to answer questions and consider solutions. (KSDK)

Attempt to ban flavored tobacco in Kansas City fails
Advocates of the proposal, which was defeated in a City Council committee vote, said the health problems that flavored tobacco causes predominantly affect communities of color and young people. (Kansas City Star)

New York company plans $18.3 million to renovate downtown St. Louis tower
Value St. Louis Properties, an entity affiliated with New York real estate investors, plans to renovate the 415-unit Mansion House apartments. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Luby’s to transfer Fuddruckers locations to franchisee
The deal transfers 13 locations of the burger restaurant, including one apiece in the Kansas City and St. Louis markets, to a national franchisee as part of Luby’s liquidation plan. (Kansas City Business Journal)

St. Louis restaurant shut down for the third time due to COVID-19 violations
The owner of Reign Restaurant previously sued the city over shutdown orders. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Hostess adds executive role focused on growth, innovation
Tina Lambert, previously of Tyson Foods, will fill the new position focused on product invention and emerging trends for the snack cake company. (Kansas City Business Journal)


Say that again

“Some of these businesses are recession resistant. If your basement floods, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in the economy, you’re going to get it fixed.”

That’s Ben Terrill, St. Louis market president of FranNet, talking about what businesses will bounce back from the pandemic, the St. Louis Business journal reports. FranNet is a consultancy that connects entrepreneurs to franchise opportunities, and Terrill sees opportunities in certain sectors on the horizon. He predicts that remote teaching, home improvement, cleaning services, fitness services and “niche” hospitality franchises will all do particularly well. Overall, he said businesses that have adapted to include remote access or a small, unique place in the ecosystem will succeed.


Go figure

$10.30

Missouri’s minimum wage will rise 85 cents to $10.30 in January, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The increase is a result of Proposition B, which was passed in 2018 and will gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 by 2023. The federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised since 2009, but several states have increased their wage floors. Twenty-eight states have raised their minimum wage since 2014, and 29 states have minimum wages over the federal level of $7.25, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The Missouri increase applies to most private-sector employers. Exceptions include agricultural operations and businesses with gross annual sales of less than $500,000.


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The Chesterfield Police Department on Wednesday posted a statement on Twitter saying it has no statutory authority to enforce health orders from the St. Louis County Department of Health or county executive. The statement, posted on behalf of the police department and Chesterfield City Council, expressed support for local businesses and detailed the department’s desire to remain a “neutral party.” Police officers will support health inspectors if they are needed to control an area where COVID-19 violation complaints have been made, the statement said. The stance highlights the tension around regulations and their enforcement in St. Louis County, where some businesses have taken legal action against COVID-19 restrictions and others have decided to flout rules.


Hello my name is

Kantar Group

Cerner, the health care information technology company that is one of the Kansas City area’s largest companies, has acquired Kantar Group’s health division for $375 million, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. Kantar Health provides life science companies with research and consulting services. In a release, Cerner said the acquisition was made to increase collaboration between researchers and health care providers. A similar goal drove the company’s recent investment in Elligo Health Research, which is supposed to help smaller health systems get involved in clinical trials.


It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.



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