Frequently Asked Questions
Is the St. Louis Public School District currently unaccredited?
No. The unaccredited status goes into effect June 15, 2007, as a result of recent action taken by the State Board of Education. However, the St. Louis Board of Education may appeal the designation within 30 days.
What happens now?
Missouri law gives the State Board of Education the authority to intervene in the governing of St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) by creating a “transitional school district.” The State Board did reinstitute the “transitional school district” in February. As a result of that State Board action, the District was to have a three-member advisory panel appointed by the mayor, the president of the Board of Aldermen, and our elected school board. If the District becomes unaccredited effective June 15, then the three-member board will become the governing body overseeing the school system. The member who would have been appointed by our elected school board would be replaced by someone selected by the governor.
What about the elected board?
The elected board will remain intact but will have no governing authority. School board elections will continue as required by law.
Who will serve on the governing committee?
According to state law, the Missouri governor, the mayor of St. Louis , and the president of the city’s Board of Aldermen must each select one person to sit on the governing board. Governor Matt Blunt has already appointed St. Louis businessman Rick Sullivan to lead the committee and serve as the school district’s chief executive officer (CEO). This appointment is subject to Senate confirmation. Other appointments do not need Senate confirmation.
How will the unaccredited status affect graduating seniors seeking admission into colleges?
This year’s seniors will graduate while the district is still provisionally accredited.
SLPS recently conducted a phone survey of approximately 20 primary universities and colleges to which St. Louis graduates apply. The answer provided by each of the schools surveyed was the same. All said that they would consider each applicant from SLPS just the same as from any other school district, even if the district became unaccredited this school year.
We have identified only two schools – one public university and one private college – where students may have to submit additional information, and possibly face increased rigor, if they graduated from an unaccredited high school. However, please note that six of our high schools are independently accredited (see below).
What about students who don’t graduate this year? What are their chances of getting admitted to college?
Most of the colleges surveyed said that they would continue to accept graduates from SLPS for admission in subsequent years. A few said that they would also consider the student’s school to be accredited if that school is recognized by the independent school accrediting organization known as the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI). Six high schools in SLPS are currently accredited by the NCA CASI. – Central, Cleveland , Metro, Roosevelt , Soldan and Sumner.
Will I need to get my GED?
No. Students who graduate from a St. Louis high school will not have to get a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). A diploma from the St. Louis Public Schools will still be accepted as students apply to colleges, universities and vocational schools, or as they pursue employment.
May SLPS students transfer to another school district?
Yes, if another district will accept them. According to state law, students in an unaccredited school district are eligible to transfer to an accredited district in the same or an adjoining county. Accredited districts, however, may choose to accept or not accept transfer students from an unaccredited district.
SLPS would have to pay the tuition and transportation costs for any student who elects to transfer to an accredited district. SLPS may designate a single district to which students will be transported at its expense. Students who transfer to other districts would be responsible for their own transportation, but SLPS would still be obligated to pay their tuition. If a significant number of students transfer to other districts, the cost of tuition and transportation could be financially devastating for St. Louis schools.
How long will St. Louis Public Schools be “in transition”?
The transitional district is expected to be in place for six years.
Will students and families be affected in other ways?
State law requires that students not performing at grade level must attend summer school (with the exception of special education students).
Students reading at grade level or above, or at one grade level below, may be promoted to the next grade. However, the law states that students not meeting this requirement must be retained. For example, an 8th grader who cannot read at the level of at least a 7th grader will not be able to move on to high school with his or her peers. Again, there is an exception for special education students.
Will schools be affected?
Specific to schools, the statutory language that authorizes the transitional school board also provides the following powers and duties to the new board:
“(1) Creating an academic accountability plan, taking corrective action in underperforming schools, and seeking relief from state-mandated programs;
(2) Exploration of alternative forms of governance for the district;
(3) Authority to contract with nonprofit corporations to provide for the operation of schools;
(4) Oversight of facility planning, construction, improvement, repair, maintenance and rehabilitation;
(5) Authority to establish school site councils to facilitate site-based school management and to improve the responsiveness of the schools to the needs of the local geographic attendance region of the school;
(6) Authority to submit a proposal to district voters pursuant to section 162.666 regarding establishment of neighborhood schools.”