Students In Failing Missouri Schools Can Now Transfer

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)  - It`s a decision that could have wide-sweeping changes on Missouri school districts.  The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a state statute that allows students from unaccredited school districts to transfer to a neighboring one.

The court battle was waged by a St. Louis Public School parent wanting her child to attend the Clayton School District.

"We`re very disappointed in the (Missouri) Supreme Court`s opinion," said Clayton School District spokesperson Chris Tennill.

He said the district was still soaking in the decision and notifying parents.  Tennill says the district feels there are still unresolved issues over how district will deal with the decision.

"Those issues need to be resolved in a way that protects students," said Tennill.  "Not only in accredited school districts but also in unaccredited school districts as well."

There are currently three Missouri school districts without accreditation.  Normandy, Riverview Gardens and Kansas City are districts where students can now transfer.

According to Elkin Kistner, the winning attorney in this case, students in those districts can now attend a neighboring district.

Kistner says neighboring is defined as any school within the same county or a neighboring county.

The unaccredited school district would be responsible for transporting students to the school they choose.  For every student that leaves, the school would also lose out on funding.

Calvin Ewell is a Normandy parent who says his 4 children have talked about leaving the district but he fears what might happen if too many students leave.

"I went through this school system so I would never want to see it fall," said Ewell.

Calvin Nolan is also a parent who calls the court ruling a Catch-22.  He likes the idea of students being able to leave but does not like the idea of their district losing money.

"You need that money to try and make it better," said Nolan.

As of Tuesday night, it was not yet clear if other districts were willing to accept incoming students from unaccredited ones.

Kistner believes they have little choice.

"I would think it would be a tough sell if you`re a district and you came into court resisting parent`s efforts to get a child in," said Kistner.

Previous Stories:
Clayton Court Case Being Watched Closely By School Districts, Parents
Judge Rules In Favor Of City Schools In Transfer Case