What is the current status of the Voluntary Student Transfer (VST) program? The VST program, under the conditions set forth in the 1999 Settlement Agreement and the initial five-year extension of the enrollment window that was approved in 2007, is slated to stop enrolling new students after the 2013-2014 school year. The program was designed to end as the St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) improved. The Settlement Agreement assumed that as SLPS improved, interest in, and the need for, a City-to-County transfer program would diminish. However, even though SLPS have shown great improvement in recent years, applications for the VST program have remained steady over the past few years and have always outnumbered available spots by at least three to one. There are currently about 5,300 students enrolled in the VST program.
Once enrollment of new students stops, all currently enrolled Voluntary Transfer (VT) students will have the opportunity to continue attending school in their current school districts, with the last class of VT students graduating in 2026 (2031 if the extension is approved). The SA provides funding, through high school graduation, for all VT students enrolled in the program at the end of the enrollment window.
What happens to the funding for students who are enrolled in the program when the enrollment window closes? Under the Settlement Agreement, the same amount of money the State would have given to the St. Louis Public Schools is provided for the students that enroll in the VST program. There is funding in place to follow students participating in the program through high school graduation in their respective County districts.
Have there been discussions about extending enrollment of new students in the VST program beyond 2013-2014? Yes. This October, school districts participating in the VST Program will be asked to consider extending the window for enrolling new students for an additional five years. The current extension expires at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. While all currently enrolled students will be able to continue in the VST program through graduation, an extension must be approved in order for new students to enroll in the program beyond the 2013-2014 school year. By October, participating districts must indicate: • If they support extending enrollment of new students in the VST program for an additional five years, through 2018-2019. • If they intend to enroll new students during the five-year extension.
Is the School District of Clayton considering accepting new VT students beyond 2013-2014 if the program is extended? Yes, the School District of Clayton is considering accepting new VT students beyond 2013-2014 if the open enrollment window is extended. The Board of Education will vote on the issue at their Oct. 10 meeting.
Will funding be a consideration in the District’s decision to accept new students if open enrollment is extended an additional five years? Absolutely. The School District of Clayton Board of Education will not accept new VT students after 2013-2014 without adequate funding in place for those students until they would graduate from Clayton High School. VICC has indicated it expects to be able to sustain the current reimbursement rate of $7,000 per student for the duration of the program. At anytime, the District can stop accepting new students or even discontinue participation in the program altogether if funding drops to a level that is unacceptable to the Board of Education.
What has to happen in order for the VST program to accept new students after the 2013-2014 school year? Enrollment of new students can be extended by a majority vote of the VICC board. The VICC board is comprised of one representative from each county school district that participates in the program and the St. Louis Public Schools. If the VICC Board approves a five-year enrollment extension, then it will be up to each of the participating St. Louis County school districts to decide whether or not to accept new students during the extended enrollment window. Therefore, it is possible for a district’s representative on the VICC board to vote in favor of the extension and then have the BOE decline to accept new students beyond 2013-2014. Districts that elect to participate in the extension have the option of annually determining the number of new VT students to enroll.
How does the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation (VICC) receive funding? VICC, the organization that runs the VST program, is treated like any other school district for the purpose of allocating funds; therefore, VICC is funded by state of Missouri in the same way other school districts receive state funding. The money that would have been allocated to the St. Louis Public Schools for the students in the VST program simply follows them to the VST program. There is no additional cost to the State of Missouri as a result of the VST program. The program is funded with revenue from the state’s general fund. It does not receive any funding generated by local property taxes from Clayton or any of the 13 participating St. Louis County school districts or the City of St. Louis.
How is transportation funded for the students in the program? VICC funds transportation for VT students to travel to their respective school districts in St. Louis County. Transportation is funded based on reimbursements received from the State of Missouri. County school districts are not responsible for transporting VT students or paying the cost to transport VT students to and from school.
How much revenue does the School District of Clayton receive for its participation in the VST program? For the 2011-2012 school year, the District was reimbursed approximately $7,000 for each of its VT students. This reimbursement amounts to approximately $2,700,000 or about 5.2 percent of Clayton’s total revenue budget.
The Board of Education charges tuition students $10,500 to attend elementary school and $15,750 to attend secondary school in Clayton. Why does the BOE accept less, about $7,000 per student, for VT students? A thorough financial analysis conducted in 2007 determined that the revenue received as reimbursement for VT students is a benefit to the District. If the District lost the students and the revenue it receives from the VST program, expenses (primarily staffing) could not be reduced accordingly without decreasing programs and services. The District’s long-term financial projections are more positive with revenue from the VST program than without it. Review the September 2007 analysis here.
How many students attend school in Clayton via the VST program? For the 2012-2013 school year, there are 371 VT students enrolled in Clayton’s schools. These students represent 15 percent of the District’s total enrollment.
Why is the VST program limited to just African-American students? The original lawsuit that led to the creation of the Voluntary Student Transfer Program alleged that St. Louis schools were still racially segregated despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education. The original lawsuit and subsequent settlement addressed racial segregation. Court action and rulings since the filing of the original lawsuit in 1972 have limited interdistrict transfers of St. Louis City students to St. Louis County schools to African-American students. County student transfers to city magnet school are limited to white students in order to improve racial integration of participating schools.
Last Modified on September 21, 2012
#2 Mark Twain Circle / Clayton, MO 63105
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