Chris Krehmeyer | St. Louis Public Radio

Chris Krehmeyer

President/CEO of Beyond Housing

Chris Krehmeyer is the president/CEO of Beyond Housing, a Neighborworks America organization in St. Louis.  He has served in that capacity since 1993. Chris has or currently sits on a variety of boards including Midwest Bank Centre and Midwest Bank Centre Holding Company, the United Way of Greater St. Louis Asset Building, both Washington University and University of Missouri’s Not-For-Profit programs and the National NeighborWorks Association Board.  Chris has been an adjunct faculty member at Washington University teaching a class in social entrepreneurship. Chris is married with three children and has an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies from Washington University.

Protester outside Ferguson Walmart during Ferguson October
Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

There is a region-wide level of discomfort and tension. Everyone is worried about what happens if the grand jury comes back and does not indict Darren Wilson. The disturbing part of this current discomfort is the absolute chasm between the African-American and white perspective.

Marchers demand change on Aug. 18 in Ferguson.
Willis Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

A week ago at the NAACP rally in north county, my good friend and a leading voice on stopping the violence in our community, James Clark, told everyone that “while we are good at protest we need to be good at the pivot to solutions.”

His words are both insightful and instructive. The challenges before us are both short term and long term.

KB35 | Flickr

What progress can this country point to since the 1954 decision in Brown v Board of Education? It gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement, and that, ironically, has had greater success in parts of society such as housing integration and voting rights than it has in education. Today we still have separate and unequal schools -- not by legal mandate but by other de facto conditions in our neighborhoods. The trials and tribulations in the Normandy schools this past year have helped illuminate the stark contrasts in our public education system.

In the coming weeks the future of the Normandy School District and that of every other district in the state will determined by the elected leadership in Jefferson City.  Normandy, currently unaccredited, will run out of money at some point between April and the end of the school year.  This topic covers so many difficult areas to not only talk about but also find consensus: public education, race, poverty and power.

Courtesy of Beyond Housing

A recent decision by the Normandy School District will set the stage for the state and our region to address the financial aspect of the student transfer law.   Whether or not you agree with their decision, Normandy was not in any financial trouble before the transfer ruling and was in full compliance of state standards of fiscal soundness.  So how did we get here?

Courtesy of Beyond Housing

The recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling in Brietenbart v. Clayton and the subsequent events shine a light on a difficult proposition: How do we support families wanting the best education possible for their children and help struggling school districts get better?  The case was brought by families in the then unaccredited City of St. Louis Schools wanting to send their children to the affluent, successful Clayton School District.  They argued that their unaccredited district was not giving their children the education they deserved and worth what the family was paying in taxes.

Research has told us, over and over, that the benefits of early childhood education are significant.  Nobel Prize winning economist Dr. James Heckman asserts that early childhood education improves the productivity of both our children and society.