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The Kirkwood School District prepares to receive hundreds of transfers from the Riverview Gardens schools.
Tuesday is the first day of classes. Monday night, is the final school board meeting before school begins. Officials are expected to discuss any last minute preparations for new students.
Riverview Gardens is paying tuition and transportation costs for 263 transferring students.
The Riverview Gardens School District will pay $3,675 each day to bus about 1,400 transfer students to Mehlville and Kirkwood. That was the winning bid among six companies vying for the contract.
The half-million dollar contract with First Student Transportation was approved Tuesday. The unaccredited district will also pay about $12,000 in annual tuition for each transfer student.
District officials say their finances are stable for this school year, but there could be trouble if the transfers continue next year.
School starts in Kirkwood on August 20th and Tuesday night parents in the south county district learned how their schools will be affected by the transfer of more than 150 students from Normandy and Riverview Gardens.
Kirkwood School Board spokesperson Ginger Cayce says class sizes may fluctuate slightly, but not enough to cause concern. Cayce says the $12,000 per transfer student that the district will receive will cover the cost of any extra resources needed. Cayce says the money would be spent on "technology, support staff resources, and any additional teachers or teachers aides we might need in the classroom."
About 650 people attended Tuesday night's meeting at Kirkwood High. There were questions about test scores and athletic opportunities, but most showed support for the students coming from the unaccredited districts. One man even donated money to help cover "incidental costs" for transfer students. He called on others with the means to do so as well.
As the start of the new school year fast approaches, more than 300 students who want to transfer out of the troubled Riverview Gardens and Normandy school districts still don't know where they'll attend classes. That's because of the limited availability of open seats in some districts they've applied to attend.
Many students didn't get into one of their first three choices of districts, or didn't list more than one choice. So officials with the Cooperating School Districts have extended the application deadline for the still unassigned transfer students.
Families can submit a new list of choices. Those who don't re-apply on the Cooperating School Districts website by noon Monday will not be able to transfer out of the unaccredited districts.
All of the Normandy students transferring to Francis Howell Districts did get their requests filled. About 2,400 Riverview Garden students have also received transfer assignments.
Few details are being released, but the Kirkwood School District Band Director is leaving his post after allegations of misconduct.
Superintendent Tom Williams sent a letter to parents announcing the resignation of Jason Rekittke. The letter says there was an act of "inappropriate conduct with a student", but the incident happened years ago.
Williams said the district could not discuss specifics on the matter.
The letter from Superintendent Williams is below:
Dear Kirkwood School District Families,
I am writing this e-mail to announce the resignation of Jason Rekittke, the band director for the Kirkwood School District. The resignation is due to an act of inappropriate conduct with a student, which happened several years ago. We believe this was an isolated incident.
Our first and most important mission is to provide the best education to help our students be successful. However, this cannot be accomplished without a safe and secure learning environment. While we cannot discuss the specifics of any personnel matter, please be assured that we have strict policies prohibiting inappropriate conduct toward students and we take immediate action upon receiving reports of any violation of those policies.
Thank you for your continued support of the Kirkwood School District. If you have any concerns for your child, you may contact me at 314.213.6100, ext. 7801.
Dr. Tom Williams
Superintendent of Schools
A retirement community that charges a six figure entry fee isn't a charitable institution and must pay property taxes. That's according to the St. Louis County Board of Equalization which Tuesday rejected a request for tax-exempt status by the Aberdeen Heights Senior Living Center in Kirkwood.
Aberdeen officials had asked the board to waive their $1.2 million annual tax bill, a move that would have cost Kirkwood schools around 700-thousand dollars a year.
Aberdeen's attorneys had argued that the luxury complex qualifies as non-profit because it waves living expenses for residents who can no pay.
St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman say that doesn't matter because residents must first pay the steep entry fee in order to get the "free" lifetime care.
Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America, Aberdeen's parent company, is expected to appeal the ruling.