Deseg program could close for new students in 2024

CREVE COEUR, MO (KTVI)-This could be a historic day for the St. Louis City school desegregation program that has gone on for decades. The governing board of the program could vote this morning to start winding the program down.

The board for the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation (V.I.C.C.) will meet at 8 a.m. Friday to map out the future of the voluntary transfer program. The, which started in 1982 after a federal lawsuit, has brought more than 70,000 African-American students to suburban St. Louis County Schools which are predominantly white. It also established magnet schools in St. Louis City which white county students could attend.

The program has been extended several times by the V.I.C.C. board but today the board could vote to extend it just one more time until the end of the 2023-2024 school year. The current agreement ends after the 2018-2019 school year.

This final extension would be designed primarily to allow the siblings of current students taking part in the program to enroll. Our partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch are reporting that the board is expected to approve the final extension. If approved, the plan would allow only 250 new city students to attend suburban schools in the 2019-2020 school year, which would be the first year of the final extension.

By 2023-2024, the final year of the extension, that number would drop to just 150.

If this plan is approved, it would be 2036 when the last student graduates as part of the desegregation program, 54-years after it began.