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Unaccredited Schools May Face Financial Troubles

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calhoun2 Michael Calhoun
A native St. Louisan, Michael Calhoun grew up listening to the Voice...
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MEHLVILLE, Mo. (KMOX) – A financial crisis appears to be looming for the Riverview Gardens and Normandy school districts.

“Between the two school districts, Normandy and Riverview Gardens, you’re looking at a bill with transportation somewhere near the $17 million dollar mark,” says Mehlville superintendent Dr. Eric Knost.

He says he worries the sheer cost of tuition alone will put Normandy and Riverview Gardens out of business.

The Mehlville superintendent says most local educators thought that the flow of transfer applications would have slowed by now, but instead it keeps growing.

“Those numbers on a daily basis continue to grow and of course the costs for those two unaccredited districts to transport and to send the people expenditures to those other districts is getting way up there,” Knost says.

Knost says his district is monitoring the number of spots it will have available for transfer students after everyone within the district’s borders is enrolled. The superintendent says his district, on a daily basis, is reviewing not just the number of seats his district has available, but whether those spaces are for elementary, middle or high school.

“We have a running tally that shows each grade level and currently what the enrollment is, what available seats we would have,” Knost says.

Students are allowed to apply to any school they choose, but Riverview is only providing transportation to Mehlville.

Knost say he promises a warm welcome for all transfer students from Riverview Gardens, but parents from the Mehlville district expressed concern at Thursday nights school board meeting.

Class sizes in Mehlville will not rise and the quality of education will not suffer, according to the superintendent.

“I have no intention of allowing already high class sizes to drive higher,” he says.

Some parents did not seem to understand that Mehlville has no choice in accepting the transfer students and that the district is only forced to accept as many students as it has space for. For those numbers, the school board voted to adhere to state guidelines for “preferred” class sizes.

For now, 450 students have applied to transfer to Mehlville, but it only has space for 150 kids.

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