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St. Louis Public Schools gets reprieve from Education Dept. for missed deadline

St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams watches as early results come in showing strong support for a proposition to increase school funding in April 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated June 16, 2016 with more information from the Education Department — It appears St. Louis Public Schools will face no immediate financial consequences for failing to submit its 2013-2014 civil rights data to the U.S. Department of Education in time for it to be included in a national civil rights survey. But that could change if the school district doesn’t comply with future requirements from the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights.

In a statement, Education Department Press Secretary Dorie Turner Nolt confirmed that school districts that receive federal funding must submit “complete and accurate compliance reports” to the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights when told to do so.

Nolt said that “if a district fails to comply” with that regulation, “conditions (could be) placed on the district’s ability to receive federal funding or the funding (could be) terminated.”

However, at this time Nolt said that the Office of Civil Rights is “working with those districts that failed to report their data for the 2013-14 (Civil Rights Data Collection) to ensure their compliance for the 2015-16 CRDC. “

“As a preliminary step, (The Office of Civil Rights) has required that the districts provide written certification that they will submit data in a complete and timely fashion. However, if a district refuses to comply with these requirements, OCR can institute enforcement proceedings,” Nolt added.

St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams said he has sent the written certification the Office of Civil Rights asked for — the only apparent requirement to avoid loss of funding at this time.

Original story from June 10, 2016 — Civil rights information from St. Louis Public Schools is missing from a new U.S. Department of Education data compilation. The region’s largest district failed to turn in the data, which is mandated by the Civil Rights Act, before the submission deadline.

Giving the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights a breakdown of suspensions, enrollment and the like by race, gender and disability is a requirement of receiving federal funding. But it’s unclear whether St. Louis Public Schools will face financial consequences.

In a statement, Department of Education Press Secretary Dorie Turner Nolt said her agency is “working with St. Louis to ensure that they fulfill this obligation in future data collections.”

The next deadline for data submission is for the 2015-2016 school year. 

St. Louis Public Schools is part of the 0.08 percent of the country’s public school districts that either didn’t submit the civil rights data for 2013-2014 or didn’t submit it in time.

St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams declined to be interviewed on the missed deadline. In a statement, Adams said the district has revised its procedures to “ensure complete and timely submission of future data.”

St. Louis Public Schools spokesman Patrick Wallace said the district could provide specific data included in the civil rights report if St. Louis Public Radio requested it.

Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille.