ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) – Many questions were answered Monday night for parents wanting to transfer their kids out of two unaccredited school districts.
The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri held a town hall meeting with Normandy and Riverview Gardens school district families to review the new and complicated process.
By August 1st, parents wanting their kids to transfer out of their failing district have to fill out an application, listing three top choices of accredited districts.
The students can go to any nearby district for free, but they’ll only get free transportation to one district, chosen by their current, failing district.
This transfer program will last until the failing districts become accredited again.
Many parents were grateful for the opportunity to transfer. “My son doesn’t like school, so I want to get him somewhere that he’ll probably appreciate and really like,” says Yolanda Herrell. She wants her seven year-old son to attend the Mehlville district.
However, many parents at Monday’s meeting are upset that the two districts chosen for free transportation, Mehlville and Francis Howell, are too far away.
For parent Denise Morehouse, the distance could be a deal breaker: “It’s up in the air for me, I’m not for sure. Her father doesn’t really want her to go to Mehlville, he thinks it’s too far too.”
That could be the point. CEAM State Policy Director Kate Casas insinuated to parents that choosing these far-off schools was clearly a move by their districts to keep kids and cash in the failing schools.
Casas doesn’t think that’s productive for anyone. She explains, “I really want to encourage the administration in both Riverview and Normandy to help the students that want to leave go, and then turn their focus into providing the very best education they can for the at least 75 percent or more kids who are going to show up in their schools in mid-August.”
Whether kids get into Mehlville, Francis Howell, or another top choice school district will be decided through a lottery system. Families could know where their child is headed as early as August 5th. If either of these districts reaches capacity, state law dictates that the failing district would have to designate a second higher-performing district to transport students to, free of charge.
The issue of busing to a limited number of schools in this situation is currently being reviewed in the court system.
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