(KMOV) – Monday marked the first day of school for thousands of students in the St. Louis area, including those in the unaccredited Riverview Gardens School District.
For the district, the year will bring a new set of challenges as it works to regain educations standing while mired in massive amounts of school transfers.
More than 2,600 students decided to transfer from the unaccredited Riverview Gardens and Normandy districts to better-performing districts. That includes 352 children from the Riverview Gardens district who will be bused to Mehlville and Kirkwood schools.
But with all the attention paid to student transfers over the last two months, roughly 75 percent of the Riverview students are expected to return to the unaccredited district. Some of those made the choice to stay while others had no other option.
For those who return to Riverview this year, a major challenge awaits them. Regaining accreditation from the state of Missouri will not be easy, especially with the district shelling out millions of dollars in transportation and tuition costs for thousands of transferring students. Combined, Riverview and Normandy will pay more than $35 million to defray their ex-students’ transportation costs.
The Missouri Supreme Court ruling gave families the green light to transfer from their unaccredited districts.
For Riverview families, Mehlville and Kirkwood were the districts chosen where transportation would be provided to transfers.
But problems arose because those districts could only handle a few hundred of the Riverview students who wanted to transfer there.
That resulted in two lotteries placing students in other districts.
Some Riverview Gardens parents are threatening to sue the Mehlville district for not allowing more transfers.
Those students who did not get placed in other districts were forced to return to Riverview.
At Riverview Gardens, teachers say they are focusing their efforts on the remaining students rather than worrying about those who left.