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Riverview Gardens Schools lose accreditation

By Marshall Griffin & Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Another public school district in Missouri has been stripped of its accreditation.

The State Board of Education on Thursday voted to unaccredit the Riverview Gardens school district, for meeting only 3 out of 14 academic and financial criteria. A minimum of 9 is needed to maintain accreditation.

State Education Commissioner Kent King says the district has two years to turn things around: "We could see a situation where the board gets put out and another board gets appointed," King said Thursday. "I personally certainly hope that is not the case."

Meanwhile, the acting co-superintendents of Riverview Garden schools say they'll do whatever it takes to regain full accreditation. "Dr. Thomas and I cannot control or help what happened years ago," noted co-superintendent Rhonda Key.

"We are now focusing on today. We're working hand in hand with DESE to assist us, and they have assisted us, and we have moved forward and made some major changes in the district."

Key also says they don't view the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as the enemy. Riverview Gardens has two years to turn things around, or they could face a state takeover of its school district.

"I don't ever want to say that it needs to happen that you lose accreditation," said Gilda Hester, the vice president of the Riverview Gardens School Board. "But, with it happening, now we know we have to rebuild it-we have two years."

Hester says as unfortunate as the scenario is, the board knows that the district needs help.

In May, Riverview Gardens Superintendent Henry Williams was suspended and charged with two counts of felony theft and three counts of evading Missouri income taxes.

The St. Louis public school district also lost its accreditation recently, but was not given two years to improve because the Missouri constitution does not allow it for the city of St. Louis.


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