Under Missouri's new rating system, the St. Louis Public Schools will lose accreditation in two years if things don't improve. And under the state's transfer rules, students who live in unaccredited districts can transfer to schools in better performing districts at the expense of their home district.
The potential transfer crisis losing accreditation could create prompted an unprecedented meeting Tuesday between the elected and appointed city school boards. It's the first time the two school boards have considered joining forces.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the two groups spent two hours discussing one idea: asking the state to grant accreditation status to individual schools rather than entire districts.
Superintendent Kelvin Adams says under that system, almost half of the city's schools would still be unaccredited, but the rest -- 38 of the district's 71 schools -- would receive at least provisional accreditation.
Adams and others argue that means only students in the city's lowest-performing schools would be eligible to transfer and some might choose to go to better performing schools within the district. After all, 20 schools in the city meet state accreditation standards, some with distinction.
The St. Louis Public Schools are looking for teachers. The district is trying to replace more than 50 teachers who've resigned in the past 10 weeks. District officials say half of the teachers who've resigned this year, did so after the first day of school.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the 72-school city system faces two challenges in retaining quality teachers: lower pay than in neighboring districts, and greater challenges.
Rick Sullivan, president of the district’s Special Administrative Board, told the paper that keeping talented teachers and principals, and mentoring new hires, is a constant challenge in the district.
More than 20,000 students attended classes on the first day of school in the city of St. Louis Monday.
Based on preliminary data, the district reports 20,055 students on the first day, down just over 200 from last year.
But Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams says the district was still enrolling students at several schools Monday and will most likely continue to do so over the next few days.
Monday’s attendance figures do not include more than 2,000 preschool children. The first day of classes for SLPS students in preschool will be Monday, August 19.
Superintendent Kelvin Adams says the small magnet high school was spared after parents and alumni developed a recruitment plan that will add 30 students to the incoming freshman class this fall. They'll build on that increased enrollment through partnerships with middle schools.
District officials still plan to close Sherman Elementary, L'Ouverture Middle School, Fresh Start South, Multiple Pathways, and Beaumont High School.
Plans to switch from a three-tier bell system to a two-tier system were scrapped. That will save the district more than $5 million next year.
At Wednesday night's school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams recommended closing Sherman Elementary, L’Ouverture Middle School, and the Cleveland NJROTC Academy. Scores of students and parents attended the meeting in support of the military magnet school.
Adams also proposed increasing class sizes at the remaining schools.
The proposed cuts would trim $14 million from the district's budget.
The Special Administrative Board will vote next month on the recommendations.
District officials will gather feedback on the proposals at two forums this Saturday. The first will be from 10 a.m. to noon at Vashon High School, 3035 Cass Avenue. The second will be from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Central Visual Performing Arts High School, 3125 South Kingshighway.
St. Louis Public Schools superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams has said he will make several proposals at the 6 p.m. meeting of the special administrative board. Among his proposals, Dr. Adams is expected to recommend that some schools close next year and other be phased out as a cost-cutting measure.
Dr. Adams says several factors, including academic performance, would be considered in deciding which, if any, schools would close.
There has been wide-spread speculation that the Cleveland NJROTC Academy would be phased out, accepting no new freshmen after this year.
Wednesday’s Special Administrative Board meeting is at 6:00 p.m. at 801 North 11th Street.