St. Louis school desegregation program to be phased out

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – A decades-old desegregation policy that allows city children to attend schools in the suburbs will not be renewed and thus phased out in a few years.

According to our partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation (VICC) ruled that beginning in Fall 2019, children will only be allowed to transfer to suburban schools if they have siblings already enrolled there.

The program began in the early 1980s, as the parents of thousands of African-American students sent their children to predominately white schools in the county. Conversely, white students in the county were eligible to attend magnet schools in St. Louis City.

The St. Louis Public School District and state leaders agreed that the desegregation program would shift from being mandatory to voluntary in 1999. Districts could then choose to accept new students for at least a 10-year period. The city and county districts continued to extend the program since then.

St Louis Post Dispatch Education Reporter Elisa Crouch has covered stories of city kids who were helped by the transfer program. Crouch said, “Kids who were exposed to opportunities that were beyond what they would have had, had they stayed in their neighborhood schools in St. Louis.”

Last year, about 4,500 African-American students from the city transferred to suburban school districts. Only 100 white students from the county made the move to attend magnet schools in the city.

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