Riverview Gardens School District

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For some parents in the Riverview Gardens District, the transfer law is turning out to be an illusion, promising access to better education for their children but offering no space or free transportation to accredited schools on their radar. Yet, for others like parents Orney and Corie Walker, the law is a godsend.

Cast a Line / Flickr

The body charged with placing the thousands of students looking for a better education has released preliminary results of last week's lottery.

The lottery took place after a recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling that upheld a law that says students from unaccredited districts can transfer to accredited districts, paid for by the failing school.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Just weeks away from its implementation, the Kirkwood School District held an informational meeting Tuesday night to answer questions from parents and residents about the school transfer process.

The basic message from speakers was this: The system is flawed, the law is broken, there wasn’t nearly enough planning, the legislature is dysfunctional, and what happens if we get sued?  But we need to do everything in our power to make sure the incoming students get the best possible education we can provide.

Numbers Released Surrounding School Transfers

Aug 6, 2013
Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Thousands of students are fleeing two failing North St. Louis County school districts, following a recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling that unaccredited schools will have to pay for students hoping for an education at an accredited school.

The past month has been confusing and arduous for both parents and the organizational body now charged with placing those students, Cooperating School Districts (CSD).

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Three parents in Riverview Gardens say they will file suit against the Mehlville School District Thursday afternoon unless Mehlville drops its limits on how many transfer students it will accept.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

The organization overseeing the school transfer process for students in unaccredited districts is still working on placing students Monday. Registration for the lottery ended last week, but Cooperating School Districts is still trying to figure out what to do with those that missed the deadline.

About 2,600 students applied for transfer by last week's deadline, making up roughly a quarter of the student population in the two unaccredited districts.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

The Cooperating School Districts of St. Louis (CSD) has placed 2,400 of the nearly 2,600 students who have applied to leave the unaccredited Normandy and Riverview Gardens School Districts.

All Normandy students who applied to go to Francis Howell were placed, and will receive transportation paid for by the unaccredited district.

But many Riverview Gardens students who applied to transfer to Kirkwood or Mehlville, the transportation options for that district, did not receive spots because the receiving districts ran out of room.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri Education Commissioner Chris L. Nicastro raised questions Friday about the financial survival of the Normandy School District in the wake of the decision by more than a quarter of its students to transfer to schools in accredited districts.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The person who answered the phones for the Riverview Gardens School District was quite busy Wednesday morning. Phone calls are so plentiful that she cannot answer them all. Most of the calls apparently came from residents wanting confirmation that students could apply to Kirkwood School District this fall.

Chris McDaniel

The Missouri Supreme Court’s ruling on Breitenfeld v. School District of Clayton on June 11 reversed a lower court decision and found that state statute 167.131does not violate the Hancock Amendment. The statute provides that an unaccredited school district must pay tuition for students to attend school in another accredited district in the same or an adjoining county.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For nearly an hour, Kate Casas and others from the Children's Education Alliance of Missouri had answered nuts-and-bolts questions from residents of the Riverview Gardens school district about how students can transfer to accredited schools:

What happens to students who are homeless, or in transition? Is this by lottery, or will our requests for certain district be filled first-come, first-served? How will students who can’t keep up academically get the help they need?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: If parents who are caught up in the current swirl of controversy over student transfers are looking for someone to blame, Kathleen Brown Sullivan at the University of Missouri-St. Louis says there are plenty of places where fingers should be pointed.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Under Missouri's school transfer law, students who live in unaccredited school districts may choose to attend a nearby, accredited district. The sending district must pay the students' tuition and must designate one district to which it will also pay transportation costs. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Eric Knost, superintendent of schools in Mehlville, remembers clearly the three words he heard Tuesday evening that could bring big changes to his south St. Louis County district.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Riverview Gardens school district has chosen Mehlville in south St. Louis County as the district to which it would pay transportation costs for students who want to transfer this fall.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Cooperating School Districts will act as a clearinghouse for students who live in Riverview Gardens and Normandy and want to transfer to accredited school districts under a law recently upheld by the Missouri Supreme Court.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri Supreme Court has unanimously rejected a lower court ruling in the St. Louis school transfer case, saying that a St. Louis County circuit judge must once again take up the issue over whether students who live in an unaccredited school district should be able to transfer, with their home district paying the tuition.

If brightly colored T-shirts, inspirational slogans and sheer enthusiasm can turn a school district around, Riverview Gardens - make that the NEW Riverview Gardens - could be on its way back.

But as speakers conceded Monday morning during the opening convocation for the reconstituted district, the turnaround is going to take a lot more than school spirit.

"Everything will be tied to what affects learning at the classroom level," new Superintendent Clive Coleman said in an interview before he took the stage to rally the troops.