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Planning Begins For August Transfers

A new study finds that nearly one-third of public school students would leave the St. Louis district if they could take advantage of a contested Mo. law that lets them transfer to better-performing districts.
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The guidelines for school transfers this fall are already being sent out.

Even as lawmakers and others got ready to craft possible changes to the transfer law, EducationPlus released guidelines for the next round of student transfers beginning this coming August.

The first round was a rushed affair. The Missouri Supreme Court did not uphold the transfer law until June 11, though the suit involved had been winding its way through the courts for several years and had already been upheld by the high court once.

But once the latest opinion was handed down, districts scurried to try to figure out how it could be implemented. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released a set of guidelines that has been revised several times since, but it made clear from the start that it was made up of suggestions only, not anything with the force of law.

Last week, EducationPlus -- formerly known as Cooperating School Districts -- put out a new timeline that it said had been put together by a committee of local school officials, even though it acknowledged that no one knows what the law will be when the next school year begins in August. The organization devised the logistics for last summer's transfers.

Starting this week, students in Normandy and Riverview Gardens who are currently in the transfer program were asked to file a form no later than Feb. 3 stating their intent to return to their new district when school resumes after the summer break.

Districts receiving transfer students would then put together a database of all those students who say they will be coming back. The families of those students will be contacted for appointments between May 15 and June 30 to complete a process that verifies their residency in one of the two unaccredited districts.

Students new to the process who want to transfer would complete an application at their home district. In Normandy, questions should be directed to assistant superintendent Trish Adkins at tadkins@normandysd.org; in Riverview Gardens, questions should be directed to associate superintendent Darlynn Bosley at dbosley@rgsd.k12.mo.us.

Placements would be made in July, with a lottery to determine placement for new transfer students. Receiving districts will be responsible for notifying students of where they will be attending class.

In addition to the timeline from EducationPlus and the guidelines from DESE, the Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri, which has been active in helping families maneuver their way through the transfer process, is holding a series of meetings for parents in Normandy and Riverview Gardens this month.

Dale Singer began his career in professional journalism in 1969 by talking his way into a summer vacation replacement job at the now-defunct United Press International bureau in St. Louis; he later joined UPI full-time in 1972. Eight years later, he moved to the Post-Dispatch, where for the next 28-plus years he was a business reporter and editor, a Metro reporter specializing in education, assistant editor of the Editorial Page for 10 years and finally news editor of the newspaper's website. In September of 2008, he joined the staff of the Beacon, where he reported primarily on education. In addition to practicing journalism, Dale has been an adjunct professor at University College at Washington U. He and his wife live in west St. Louis County with their spoiled Bichon, Teddy. They have two adult daughters, who have followed them into the word business as a communications manager and a website editor, and three grandchildren. Dale reported for St. Louis Public Radio from 2013 to 2016.