Notice I didn't say there wasn't any value in the schools or the city offering swim instruction, but it's far more important for that responsibility to fall on the parents. If a kid makes it to school without having learned how to swim, they've made it past one of the riskiest times for drowning.
With only two public pools (three if you count the upcoming YMCA public/private pool) in the city, I don't see a lot of options for most parents to teach their kids to swim. Every time we've tried to go to Forest Park pool, it has been jam packed. Unfortunately, people don't seem to be clamoring to rebuild the old pools.
We've enrolled our kids in the swim classes offered by the city and found them to be a good value for our money.