CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOX) - Should students in the St. Louis city public school district be allowed to transfer to accredited schools nearby, at the city’s expense?
And if so, would the resulting financial impact cause the city school district to collapse?
These are questions that a St. Louis County circuit judge must now decide after three days of conflicting testimony in his Clayton courtroom.
The case called Turner vs. School District of Clayton has been in Judge David Vincent III’s hands before when he ruled in the school district’s favor, before that was overturned by the Missouri Supreme Court in 2008.
This time around it could be days, even weeks, before issues his ruling.
The focus of this week’s trial has been a 1993 Missouri law that allows students in failing districts to attend classes in a nearby accredited school system, with the students’ home district picking up the tab.
Lawyers for city schools argued again this week that the estimated $284 million that would potentially cost them if up to 15,700 kids switched districts would force them to make draconian cuts, perhaps shut down altogether.
“The district would no longer exist,” suggested city schools Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams.
Instead, he’s hoping this whole issue is put to rest this spring when students take another round of Missouri Assessment Program tests.
He says if only about a dozen students had scored better in the reading category last year, they would have made up the single point they need to attain provisional accreditation status.
But parents who are worried that situation won’t improve this time around say their children could remain trapped in an underachieving district, when state law provides a potential way out.
Whatever Judge Vincent’s decision, the outcome of Turner vs. Clayton Schools could impact the futures of some 72,000 students.
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