JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri is backing off a threat to file a lawsuit today against Mehlville School District over the district’s refusal to accept all of the more than 500 students who applied to transfer into the school from the unaccredited Riverview Gardens School District.
CEAM State Director Katie Casas said the decision came after legal counsel for both parties had several phone conversations late Wednesday evening, although she declined to discuss the specifics of the conversations.
“Based on our conversations last night, I can say that [Mehlville] came to us in good faith,” Casas said. “They made it clear that they would continue to work to find a sport for every child wishing to leave Riverview.”
A spokesperson for Mehlville said the school’s position has not changed, that the district was working to find as many available spots as possible before the threat of a lawsuit. Both Mehlville and CEAM confirmed that while their conversations were productive, Mehlville did not promise to open any additional slots to Riverview Gardens students.
Kirkwood School District also confirmed their legal counsel had discussions with CEAM throughout the evening. Kirkwood emphasized that the 176 slots available to Riverview students was not set in stone, and that as changes in enrollment continued, they’d work to place as many students as possible.
“We really wanted a sense of urgency and for all parties to understand that we need to reach an agreement now,” Casas said. “We’re not saying we won’t file a lawsuit in the future, in fact we’d like to avoid that if possible, but as long as the schools work in good faith to accomplish this, then we can work with them.”
Other entities, like the NAACP and the ACLU have not formally addressed whether they will consider legal action. Both groups have threatened lawsuits against receiving districts in the last week.
Collin Reischman is the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. To contact Collin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @CMReischman