(KMOV) – An emergency meeting was called for Mehlville School District officials after a series of legal threats were made against the district if they do not accept more transfer students.
The NAACP, ACLU and a group of Riverview Gardens parents have threatened to file suit against Mehlville if they do not accept every student who wants to transfer there from the unaccredited district.
News 4 learned there may not be a way to avoid the lawsuits if the Mehlville superintendent continues to be unwilling to budge.
The Mehlville district has already enrolled more than 200 new transfer students. The Superintendent of Schools for Mehlville, Eric Knost, told News 4’s Brittany Noble that he is not going to take any more students.
Tracy Lancaster lives in Mehlville and said she isn’t the only parent who is tired of school officials turning kids away.
“You have no choice; you can’t make a person go to an unaccredited school. So, these school districts better buckle up, put on their big girl panties and get it done,” Lancaster said.
Knost said he wants to help more transfer students but the classroom sizes are getting too big.
Lorna Kurtz with the Children’s Education Alliance, whose job is to watch the school system in the area, said Mehlville can handle more students.
“We’ve seen the enrollment decline in the district the past few years. I think there is a lot of conversation about them actually having space and just not saying they do,” Kurtz said.
Mehlville officials met behind closed doors for several hours Wednesday evening but no decision was made.
The Children's Education Alliance released this statement saying they hope to work will Mehlville and come up with a decision by the end of the week to avoid going to court. No lawsuit was filed at the 3 p.m. deadline.
“After communicating with Mehlville and Kirkwood School District leaders late into the night, the Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri and the parents with whom we have been working are hopeful that a resolution to the school transfer situation, which has resulted in more than 200 students left without transportation to an accredited school district to attend, is possible.
While negotiations are still underway and a spot in Mehlville or Kirkwood has not been identified for all of the Riverview Gardens students who requested a transfer with transportation prior to the August 1 deadline, we believe that school officials are working in good faith to find a resolution and the parties agree that additional time for this purpose would be fruitful.
Therefore CEAM and the disaffected parents involved have decided not to file a petition at the St. Louis County courthouse today in the hope that by the end of this week the parties involved will have identified a solution that is in the best interest of children.
CEAM remains resolute that all Missouri children have access to the quality education they deserve.”
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