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More than 1,000 student transfers granted, more coming

More than 1,000 student transfers granted, more coming


More than 1,000 students have been placed in their first choice school district as officials continue to work through the process this afternoon.

All of the families that selected Francis Howell will attend there, said Sherrie Wehner, an official with the Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis. Work is continuing on placing students in Mehlville and Kirkwood, and districts students chose as their second or third choice.

The process is going well, but lengthy, she said this afternoon at 1 p.m.

"We can't afford to make a mistake. We're talking about the school year for 2,600 kids," she said. "Everyone will have a spot somewhere."

Earlier, a computer crash delayed the student transfer placement process a few hours.

After Thursday's application deadline, staff at the Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis had been working through the night to place students in their preferred districts. The glitch early this morning delayed the process.

The total number of students who completed transfer applications from the unaccredited Normandy and Riverview Gardens school districts is 2,589.

The placements are part of an unprecedented undertaking that will send students in the region’s two unaccredited districts to a host of districts in the area, most notably Mehlville, Francis Howell and Kirkwood, as educators work to comply with a recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling upholding the school transfer statute.

School districts plan to begin calling parents to inform them of their placement this afternoon once the process is complete.

And there is good news for those families turned away from Riverview Gardens when officials shut the doors to the transfer process at 1 p.m. Thursday. Don Senti, executive director of the Cooperating School Districts, said they are taking calls from those parents and trying to find them a placement. Many were angry after missing the deadline, saying the deadline was changed and they weren't informed.

Latonya Dethrow walked away from a community center in Bellefontaine Neighbors distraught on Thursday afternoon as she clutched the paperwork needed to transfer her daughters, 14 and 16, to higher-performing public schools. She had narrowly missed a 1 p.m. deadline.

“I asked, ‘Are my kids basically stuck in Riverview then?’” she said, tears in her eyes, after being turned away. “This is sad.”

On Thursday, superintendents from Kirkwood and Mehlville increased the number of children they expect to accept into their schools — to 175 and 218 students, respectively. Both districts were chosen by Riverview Gardens as the schools to which it would provide transportation for transferring students.

All 453 Normandy students who selected Francis Howell as a first enrollment choice are expected to get in, as of Thursday.

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Elisa Crouch is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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