Parents prepare to file suit against Mehlville if they don't accept more students

Parents prepare to file suit against Mehlville if they don't accept more students

Parents prepare to file suit against Mehlville if they don't accept more students

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on August 6, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 16 at 1:19 PM

 (KMOV) – Three parents of children from unaccredited Riverview Gardens School District are prepared to file suit against Mehlville School District if the district fails to revisit its current policy regarding transfer students and make necessary changes before Thursday.

If changes, such as expanding the number of students that can transfer into the district from Riverview, are not made before 3 p.m. on August 8, a lawsuit will be filed.

“The Children’s Alliance of Missouri has maintained, since June 11, that as long as school districts were making every effort to comply with the guidelines set forth by the State Department of Education and/or RSMo 167.131, that we would not play a role in any litigation,” said Kate Casas, state director, Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri. 

“However, upon comparing Mehlville student enrollment and capacity in recent years against the limited number of students it accepted from Riverview Gardens, it is clear they are not in compliance and we are now stepping in as facilitator to help parents fight this injustice.”

At this time, Mehlville has accepted 209 of the thousands of Riverview students who have applied for transfer.

The unaccredited district was forced to select a second accredited school, Kirkwood, to provide transportation to those students who were turned away from Mehlville but still wished to transfer.

“My child is one of dozens of students who were not chosen in the lottery to attend the Mehlville School District,” said April Jones. “Unless Mehlville complies with the law and agrees to accept more transfer students, my child will remain trapped in the failed, unaccredited Riverview Gardens School District.”

According to a statement released by the Children’s Alliance, the challenge has become that there are more students seeking transfers out of Riverview and Normandy than spaces currently allotted in the receiving district.

After 2,400 Riverview students were placed in surrounding districts during an application and lottery process, a second lottery is underway to place the remaining 300 students who are in limbo.

This lawsuit came after careful examination of past enrollment at Mehlville showed the district has the capacity to accept more transfers and most do so in compliance with the law.

“The Supreme Court ruling gave us such hope,” said Lajunta Brown.  “But that hope was squashed when we found out our children didn’t win the lottery.  My children’s education – their futures – should not be determined by a lottery.  They deserves better than that.  I am committed to seeing this lawsuit through, if necessary, because I am committed to ensuring my children receive the quality education they deserve.”

The Mehlville School Board of Education and the district superintendent have received copies of the lawsuit and a letter explaining how they can work out an agreement without having to go to court.

Mehlville School District responded to the lawsuit Tuesday night in an email statement saying they are working to comply with the transfers as best they can under short notice.  They are also working with their attorneys to decide how to respond. 

The first day of school for Mehlville is August 15 and August 12 for Riverview Gardens. 

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