RIVERVIEW GARDENS (KMOX) – The transfer of students from Riverview Gardens to the Mehlville School District has hit a major snag: there are too many for Mehlville to handle.
More than 400 students have applied thus far and more are anticipated. Mehlville only has room for 150 transfers.
Under state guidelines, Riverview Gardens must now select a second accredited district for its transfer students and determine which 150 can attend Mehlville.
The district may give preference to siblings of children who were selected earlier and have already enrolled. Riverview, under state statutes, will have to pick up the cost of busing and tuition to that second choice.
A potential pick is the Hazelwood School District, which spokeswoman Diana Golata says has received about sixty transfer applications.
“We plan on following the law and treating the transfer students just like we would treat our resident students and we’ve had a very open mind about this and as soon as we heard where the law was, we knew that we would have students,” she says.
Golata believes the district will be able to spread students out across several schools, minimizing the impact on each Hazelwood school. Hazelwood officials aren’t sure how many slots they have left or, at this point, what class sizes are going to look like.
Golata says there are several reasons why Riverview or Normandy might choose to send buses to Hazelwood.
“Number one, we’re a desirable district,” she says. “Number two, we’re located in close proximity to both of those districts so we knew we would be seeing kids and we immediately started putting procedures in place to welcome them.”
Last month, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a 20-year-old state law requiring unaccredited school districts to pay for students to attend other nearby schools
According to Cooperating School Districts, 1,500 students from Riverview Gardens and Normandy – two local unaccredited school districts – have applied to transfer so far. That includes 1,100 who want to go to districts where transportation will be provided.
The organization says it has totaled the cost to the Riverview and Normandy districts based on a rate of $12,000 per student for tuition and $3,000 each for transportation..
Using those figures, the transfer of students to accredited districts will cost the Riverview Gardens School District nearly $11 million and the Normandy School District over $9 million. Normandy’s overall budget is listed at $55 million while Riverview Gardens’ budget is $68 million.