County schools getting calls about transfers

2012-03-17T00:05:00Z 2012-05-02T09:23:02Z County schools getting calls about transfersBY JESSICA BOCK • jbock@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8228 stltoday.com

While parents and educators await a judge's decision in the landmark student transfer case tried this month, many continue to inquire about sending their child to an accredited district.

More than 100 people have called the Clayton School District about transferring students and left their information, according to a document filed by the school district for the court trial that ended March 7. But the number of inquiries is actually two to three times that amount, officials say.

"It's never stopped completely, there's always an occasional call that comes in," said Chris Tennill, spokesman for Clayton schools. "We saw a big bump in calls coming in last fall." That was when Kansas City public schools lost accreditation.

Of the people that left information about potential students with Clayton schools, nine had children attending private schools. The majority attended St. Louis Public Schools or Riverview Gardens, both districts that have lost accreditation in recent years.

The Turner case centers around a statute that says children in unaccredited school districts may transfer to better schools in the same or adjacent counties. The home district is responsible for tuition and transportation costs.

But until the case is resolved, no county district is accepting transfer students under the statute.

Other school districts with pending lawsuits related to the statute also say they continue to receive calls about transferring students.

Webster Groves has had 113 families inquire, while the Kirkwood School District received about 60. The district still gets about one or two calls a week, spokeswoman Ginger Fletcher said.

City parents filed Turner v. School District of Clayton in 2007, seeking tuition bills to be paid by St. Louis Public Schools. Clayton school officials refused, after having failed to receive tuition payments for student transfers from the now-defunct Wellston district.

The case made its way to the Missouri Supreme Court, which ruled in the parents' favor but sent the case back to David Lee Vincent III for trial.

Since the state Supreme Court decision in July 2010, about 40 people have called Lindbergh Schools and left information regarding a total of 75 students. About a dozen more chose not to leave their name. Most came from St. Louis Public Schools.

Tom Sweeney, a city parent who has watched the case unfold is awaiting an outcome. He has two school-age daughters. After the state Supreme Court decision in 2010, he tried to enroll his eldest at Bayless High School, but was refused.

"We were turned away," said Sweeney, who said they also tried Lindbergh and Mehlville. Since then, his daughter was homeschooled one year and now attends Cleveland NJROTC, where she is happy. His youngest daughter is a sixth-grader at Carondelet Leadership Academy, a charter school.

"We're not holding our breath," he said. "I don't have a lot of confidence that anything for the good of city children is going to be upheld."

Copyright 2015 stltoday.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

ACTIVATE YOUR DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION

Get weekly ads via e-mail