ACLU, parents argue local students can't be turned away from selected districts

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by Diana Zoga / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 7:03 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 16 at 1:19 PM

(KMOV) -- A legal battle is brewing after some say the school transfer process is unfair, arguing that it is illegal to deny a student from an unaccredited district to transfer to the school of their choice.

Some parents plan to sue, arguing that all students should be allowed into a district of their choice and that transportation should be provided.

The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri said it is hearing from parents who want to sue. The Alliance said the deadlines set up for transfer applications and the lottery is not required under the law. Those requirements reportedly caused confusion.

Some families did not turn in transfer applications by the August 1 deadline and are getting the runaround about their next options.

The Children’s Education Alliance is watching to see how school districts handle the next few days and weeks and to see if certain accredited districts open up more spots to kids in unaccredited districts.

“The last thing I want is for families to have to go through what they have been through for the last seven years. Which is just being told they need to wait for the courts to sort this out,” Kate Casas of the Children’s Education Alliance said.  “I will remain hopeful until school starts in any district where kids have been denied that those districts will see they should have let more children in.”

The ACLU announced on Monday that it sent letters to Mehlville and Kirkwood School Districts saying the districts cannot put limits on the number of transfer students the schools will accept.

The districts were working under state guidelines but the ACLU argues those guidelines aren’t backed by the law. 

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