Bommarito Automotive SkyFOX Helicopter – Protesters gather in the southwest corner of Forest Park

St. Louis voluntary desegregation program to be phased out

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – It’s an historic day for the decades-old desegregation program in St. Louis area schools. The governing board of the program voted Friday morning to extend it for a final time but then end it.

The board for the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation (VICC) met at Education Plus, located just off Craig Road in Creve Coeur. The board voted unanimously to extend the program through the 2023-2024 school year, but then end it after that.

The VICC board is made up of superintendents from the 14 districts taking part in the voluntary transfer program.

The desegregation program, which started in 1982 after a federal lawsuit, has enabled more than 60,000 African American students to attend predominantly white suburban St. Louis County schools. It also established magnet schools in St. Louis City, which white county students could attend.

The program has been extended twice in the past by the VICC board as well. VICC officials say 925 new city students will be able to transfer to county schools through the final extension period.

Fox 2 News was told priority will be given to siblings of current transfer students. We were also told that legal questions were raised about extending a race-based program like this one beyond 2024 because of the amount of years it will have been in effect.

But there is now talk about developing a new kind of VICC program after this one ends. Organizers say that could be based on factors other than just race like socio-economic status.