ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – There was a chance for about 150 Riverview Gardens parents to have their transfer questions answered at a meeting Monday night.
For many, the concern wasn’t about the long bus ride to Mehlville but whether there will be enough seats on the bus for their child.
Melissa and Ray Seymore moved their children from Normandy schools into Riverview Gardens but now hope they win a special lottery that will determine which children will be sent to Mehlville schools.
For Melissa, who grew up in Riverview Gardens, it’s bittersweet.
“I want them to know where I come from,” Melissa says. “They do not teach the same.”
Ray Seymore, also a north St. Louis County native, says he was a product of the desegregation program, attended Rockwood schools, and hopes his kids can now find the same success that he has.
“I had a very good education there,” he said. “I studied drafting and all of that in that school district and places like Riverview don’t supply things like that.”
The meeting was sponsored by the Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri, a school choice group funded in large part by billionaire Rex Sinquefield. An important question many had for the group’s State Director Kate Casas was why Francis Howell and Mehlville were chosen as destinations for their children.
“I haven’t said this but I’m going to say it today…they didn’t let you choose because they want to keep your children in the district,” she said. “I don’t know any other reason that they would choose a school district – there is nothing wrong with Mehlville and there is nothing wrong with Francis Howell – but there are districts closer that are as good.”
Parent Mark McMullen, a teacher himself, is worried about the heated language he heard last week from parents at Francis Howell.
“It’s very uncomfortable for children to hear that they’re not wanted and my bigger issue, as a community, we need to make sure the children know they’re being encouraged and supported to do their best,” he said.
For now, parents are being told that if Francis Howell and Mehlville fill up, Normandy and Riverview will each choose a second district for buses. Parents could apply to any area district – Parkway, Clayton and Ladue seemed popular Monday night – but they would have to provide their own transportation there.
High school junior Jessika Williams says she welcomes the challenge of a new district.
“I know how we’ve been taught at Riverview so it’s probably going to be a little bit harder at Mehlville but we’ll get used to it because we love it.”