Lawsuits brought by families who want the St. Louis school district to pay to send their children to an accredited suburban school district are in question after the St. Louis district regained its accreditation last week.
Missouri law requires unaccredited districts to pay tuition and transportation costs to send students living within their boundaries to accredited districts in the same or an adjoining county.
Updated at 4:57 p.m. with comments from DESE's Margie Vandeven; Peter Herschend, State Board of Education President; and Chris Nicastro, Mo. Education Commissioner.
St. Louis schools are no longer unaccredited, following a unanimous vote today by the State Board of Education. The struggling district, which has been under state control for five years, will now have provisional, but not full, accreditation.
St. Louis schools lost their accreditation five years ago and were soon after placed under state control, but they have improved over the past two years. In 2010 they only met 3 out of 14 performance standards, with six being the minimum require for provisional accreditation. Last year they met the minimum six, and this year they’ve met seven performance standards. State Board Member Peter Herschend (R) says, though, there’s no guarantee the vote will go St. Louis’s way.
On Tuesday the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will consider granting provisional accreditation to St. Louis Public Schools, and the religious group Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU) plans to push state officials to move forward with re-instating local control over the district.
Sunday, the religious group held its annual public meeting and Barbara Paulus, who leads the Economic Task Force for MCU, said earning back accreditation is a key part of ensuring kids get the education they’re entitled to.
A collaborative effort among the administration, parents, and teachers of the St. Louis Public Schools toward regaining accreditation earned praise on Tuesday from the president of the a national teachers union.
Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, made St. Louis a stop on her national back-to-school tour. The St. Louis teachers are represented by an AFT local.
The St. Louis school district could be a year away from regaining partial accreditation. Missouri's Annual Performance Reports, or MAP scores, have been released today. They show that St. Louis city schools have met seven standards, including one academic standard.
Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro says they're looking for sustained improvement over time.