A judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of the School District of Clayton in a widely-watched case that deals with the transfer of students from unaccredited schools to accredited ones, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Quoting from the Post-Dispatch article:
"Under the ruling, students from unaccredited school districts would not have the right to transfer to better school districts for free."
Judge David Lee Vincent III presided over a three-day trial about the case in March, where witnesses said allowing the students to transfer would bankrupt St. Louis Public Schools and be an unfunded mandate for county schools.
The case has been in the legislature and courts for the last five years without a resolution.
(Read the complete Turner v. Clayton ruling issued Tuesday in the PDF attached.)
Chief Communications Officer Chris Tennill of the School District of Clayton said the district is "thrilled" with the ruling.
"This is a statute that, in its current form, doesn't work the way it's intended to," said Tennill, describing how the ruling by Judge David Lee Vincent III aligns with the district's positions on student transfers.
He said it's unclear whether plaintiffs will appeal the case, so the district will take a wait-and-see approach for the immediate future. If it is appealed, he said, the district is prepared to continue facing the issue of transfers with the "same dedication and intensity" as it has for the last five years.
Elkin Kistner, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said he has 40 days from Tuesday to file an appeal. He isn't sure when the filing will occur.
"That's the reason appeals exist," Kistner said.
As for the ruling, he said: "It's not good news."
The Webster Groves School District is also facing similar student transfer cases. In March, the Missouri Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling ordering the district enroll a teen in its high school. In January, city firefighters sued the Webster Groves, Kirkwood and Lindbergh school districts for the right to send their children there.
Sarah Riss, the district's superintendent, said on Tuesday she preferred not to comment on the Turner case and instead referred Patch to officials at the Clayton School District since it is their case.
See related stories:
- Lawmakers See Little Hope for Education Bill
- Missouri Supreme Court Rules Against Plaintiff in Webster School Transfer Case
- City Firefighters Sue Webster, Kirkwood, Lindbergh School Districts
- School Districts to Legislature: Save Us From Flood of Students
UPDATE: This article was updated at 4:10 p.m. with a statement from the plaintiff.
Patch editors Sheri Gassaway and Gregg Palermo contributed information to this article.