Night 3 of the District’s Brown v. Board of Education forum provided us with the opportunity to come together, with conversation informed by each of the prior two nights.
Alumna Reeves Oyster started the evening, presenting data of initial advances toward dismantling racially segregated school systems, which have now given way to re-segregation – today, it is not just black and white segregation between schools within a district, but is black and white segregation by district. Reeves ended her presentation with a reflection on the power of her own Clayton experience and her hope that the District will find a way to meaningfully preserve its regional commitments and educational strength. Click here to see presentation.
Following Reeves’ presentation, Board Vice President Lily Raymond moved us from that regional look back to our smaller community. Lily presented an overview of 20 years of community survey data and Board actions (and even some student activism). These all evidence consistent and continuing school community support of VICC and of maintaining racial diversity in our schools. Most recently, the Board adopted the District’s African American Equity Initiative (2016), followed by establishment of its Diversity Task Force (2018) which is charged with looking at ways the District can stop the decline and can increase its AA student enrollment.
The bulk of Night 3 was dedicated to table conversations on educational access and school enrollment, and to dialogue on how to move the District forward. Big Take-Aways: (1) The Clayton community continues to be strongly behind figuring out ways to increase racial access to and diversity in our schools, and community members are ready to put in the wisdom, time and effort needed to make this happen, and, (2) there remains a lot of work to do to fully support each of our children, once they are a part of our community, and to ensure a school culture where African American students, and all students, flourish. This work is ongoing throughout the District under the Board Equity Initiative and Task Force efforts.
Thank you for being a part of this continuing conversation.
Equity Initiative Steering Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are some Quick Facts for each current enrollment category. These answer some of your questions on enrollment and finance. Following the Quick Facts are your remaining questions and comments from Night 3, and, finally, your Ideas for Next Steps.
Current Enrollment Categories - Quick Enrollment & Financial Facts
I. Voluntary Interdistrict Student Transfers (VICC)
Through its participation in VICC, CSD enrolls African American students who reside in St. Louis City. VICC students continue to comprise most of CSD’s African American student enrollment.
Finances: State of Missouri pays VICC as it pays other school districts (for VICC, approximately $12,000/student), VICC then pays participating districts a current tuition rate of $7000/student. See Night 1 discussion.
VICC enrollment: VICC board has discretion on the number of students it will accept each year. Since VICC’s inception, applications have exceeded the number of seats offered. VICC selects students from the applicant pool by lottery. For 2018-19 school year, VICC enrolled approximately 17% of students who applied. CSD enrollment of VICC students: VICC Board sets a cap on the number of its students CSD can enroll. CSD then enrolls VICC students based on considerations including CSD’s class size guidelines. Once CSD enrolls a student through VICC, and as long as the student meets VICC criteria, the student may stay as part of the CSD community through graduation. VICC students currently comprise 8% of CSD student enrollment. VICC board’s current plan is to continue its annual decrease in the number of new students it accepts, which decreases the number of VICC students CSD can enroll, with no new students to be enrolled after 2023.
VICC Timeframe: VICC is rooted in a court desegregation order. Always voluntary by transferring family, participation became voluntary by district in a 1999 Settlement Agreement that ended the court case. Today, VICC continues under state statute, in 5 year increments. The VICC board to date has voted three times to renew, or extend, its 5 year time period for enrollment. Under the current extension, VICC will enroll new students until 2023. While the VICC board has voted to renew the 5-year enrollment timeframe, the VICC board has also voted to decrease the number of students it serves.
II. State Law/Students Residing in Unaccredited Districts (Statutory Tuition)
Currently 2% of CSD students reside in neighboring counties or districts (Normandy, Riverview Gardens) that had lost state school accreditation. Students residing in Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts have had the option to attend CSD schools since 2013. Once the sending district regains accreditation, CSD is no longer required to enroll its resident children.
Finances: State pays sending district, and sending district then pays receiving district. E.g., State pays Normandy district approximately $12,000/student, Normandy then pays tuition to CSD. Amount of Tuition: Per state statute, sending district (e.g. Normandy) pays receiving district tuition based on receiving district’s budget (for CSD, approx. $20,000/student). CSD received this tuition amount for the first few years, then, in an effort to lessen the financial impact on Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts, CSD Board voted to reduce sending districts’ tuition obligation to $7000/student.
Enrollment and Timeframe: Over 60 CSD students have enrolled under this category over the last six years. Statutory Tuition enrollment impacts CSD African American enrollment as each of the area districts that lost accreditation is over 90% African American. Both Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts are now provisionally accredited, and CSD Board has voted to join with other districts to “transition out” remaining students. Older students will be allowed to stay through graduation, with approximately 30 current students not being able to continue in CSD under this enrollment category.
III. Board Grant (CSD staff children)
Pursuant to CSD Board policy, District staff may enroll their children in CSD schools.
Finances: School enrollment is offered as an employment and community benefit, with no tuition.
Enrollment: 150 CSD students are children of CSD staff. <1% of CSD students are African American children of staff.
IV. Personal Tuition
Nonresident students may enroll in CSD under individual tuition contracts.
Finances: Current contractual tuition rates are $16,250 for grades K-5 and $21,650 for grades 6-12.
Enrollment: For 2018-19 school year, 15 students are enrolled under personal tuition contracts. No African American students are currently enrolled under this category.
Overall CSD enrollment numbers: For 2018-19, CSD student community included 2178 Resident, 226 VICC, 15 Personal Tuition, and 55 Statutory Tuition students. With exception of Board Grant, nonresident students (VICC, Personal Tuition, and Statutory Tuition) are accepted subject to CSD class size guidelines.
Night 3 Questions, Comments and Responses
Your input is in bold, responses are in italics.
What is percentage of African American teachers and staff in CSD?
Based on 2017-18 numbers, 2% of CSD K-12 teaching staff identify as African American, and 11% of total CSD staff identify as African American.
Do black residents use CSD schools?
Qualified Yes. Based on the limited data we have been able to gather, African American District resident families use Clayton schools at a rate at least equal to that of other demographic groups. African American resident students currently comprise 4% of CSD enrollment. The City of Clayton African American school district resident population* may be between 2-4%.
*While City of Clayton reports residential demographics of 8% African American, this percentage includes adults residing in Washington University dormitories as well as those residing at the County Justice Center. Please remember that this is an inexact comparison of school enrollment and City residency, both because we do not have precise data on different City resident populations and because CSD includes the City of Clayton as well as areas of Richmond Heights.
Are any legislative measures pending on deseg/integration?
There is an ongoing effort to modify the statutory tuition statute (e.g. unaccredited district tuition law). We are not aware of any other proposed or pending legislation. For information or to get involved, contact Cici Tompkins, email@example.com.
What is Better Together school impact on districts or attendance?
To our knowledge, current plans do not include any change to schools.
Is Clayton taking best African American teachers and kids from other districts?
CSD certainly strives to hire and retain the most capable teachers who also reflect the diversity of its students.
We will answer the student question with reference to VICC enrollment as that is where this concern tends to arise. Please consider this big picture data - VICC selects the students it enrolls by lottery. For 2018-19, only 17% of students who applied were accepted. Stated alternatively, 83% of applicants were not accepted.
What are CSD student demographic projections?
Overall, enrollment numbers are projected to remain stable, with exception of decline in VICC enrollment and corresponding decline in African American student percentages toward 4-6%. See graph and discussion from Night 1.
Night 3 - Your Ideas and Next Steps
Your input is in bold, our responses are in italics.
I. Voluntary Interdistrict Student Transfers (VICC)
Let’s keep VICC going, with whatever other county districts want to continue with us,
There are two primary aspects to this: 1) renew/extend time period of VICC new enrollment beyond 2023-24, and 2) stem or reverse VICC’s reduction in student enrollment.
and let’s work with St. Louis Public Schools to make this work for everyone.
The VICC statute does not require an end date. There is nothing to keep the Voluntary Student Transfer from continuing with fewer districts, and more flexible board decisions. The statute also does not mention anything about race. Clayton is in unique position to work with City given its proximity, District commitment, and willingness to make this work for City and county districts.
Partnership with (STL) city schools.
VICC is one example of partnership, and more opportunities can be explored.
Look for grants for desegregation and/or diversity efforts.
Partner with other districts for student transfers, exchanges, charter school.
Talk with Better Together people.
Raise a special tax to pay for continuation of transfer program.
II. Statutory Tuition Students
To terminate enrollment of current students “is not the Clayton way.” Can Board please do something?
Keep tuition rate where it is ($7000) for [statutory tuition] students.
Let’s continue to connect around ideas and efforts, including tuition enrollment, scholarship support and legislative efforts.
CSD statutory tuition students have the option to enroll as personal tuition students, at current tuition rates, which ties these ideas to the following:
III. Personal Tuition
Tuition rate is too high to be attractive, accessible ($16,250 for grades K-5; $21,650 for grades 6 -12). Can program be restructured to support diversity?
Lower Tuition for specific geographical areas, consider different categories for nonresident tuition enrollment.
Use Sliding Scales for tuition like in private schools.
Capture middle class private school seekers. Make our district attractive to them.
Tuition scholarships - how can scholarships be fair and reasonable?
Any scholarships would need to be provided by private entity and subject to that entity's criteria.
Sponsor a child from the VICC or statutory tuition program.
A group of parents and District administrators has formed to explore that and similar ideas.
GoFundMe for tuition.
Tap into Foundations that we already have.
Can Clayton Educational Foundation look at building endowment to fund transfers?
Can we maintain Non-Resident - Public/Private subsidies?
IV. Board Grant (CSD staff children)
To Increase Board Grant diversity (children of CSD staff), hire more diverse staff.
11% of CSD employees and 2% of CSD teachers identify as African American. Attracting, hiring, and retaining a diverse staff are priorities under the Board Equity Initiative.
Hiring Practices: Look at teacher intern programs. Address transportation for potential employees. Make sure candidates know about board grant perk.
Partner with City of Clayton, Chartwells (cafeteria staff) to offer enrollment to their nonresident employees’ children.
Housing policy falls primarily within the purview of the City of Clayton, with District having responsibility to continually improve school culture and opportunity. African American resident students comprise 4% of CSD student body.
Housing Ideas: “We know it’s hard because of property values, but we could be the model.”
Work with the City [of Clayton]:
- to promote our desire for diversity. For example, if you want to build this apartment...fund this program
- to address concern that new development is neither affordable nor ideal for raising families.
- to consider subsidized housing
- to ask City of Clayton to furnish employee housing
- to explore other options
Look to other states and cities on how they are addressing housing
Marketing – to realtors, local universities so that they promote Clayton to those relocating in area
Change district boundaries / Would Clayton District support merging districts with University City, Maplewood Richmond Heights or Maplewood?
Pursuant to Missouri statute, change to district boundaries requires voter approval by each affected district.
Acknowledge that there are indentures still in practice.
Collaborate with other partners. Wash U. Recruit families to live here.
Continue Equity Initiative work that is happening for our current students (inside our schools) so District will attract more diverse students.
Your Additional Thoughts and Ideas:
Clayton Foundation is investing $2 million in baseball field – what about making that kind of effort for our kids, to support this community value?
Hmmm … that ties into next comment
Improve our sports programs to make schools more attractive.
See above. And ...
District could consider reducing the number of extracurriculars, to put more funding toward diversity and all its students.
The Goal of each of these comments may be to ensure we align District spending with community priorities. Strong and inclusive programs, including sports programs, can strengthen school attractiveness and effectiveness, as well as promote diversity and healthy relationships within our schools. Please continue to consider, advocate for, and support funding of efforts that will help advance the District’s Mission, Vision and Core Values, and, specifically, this long standing community value of diversity.
Get CSD grads to mentor!
While this suggestion is a little outside of the Forum’s topics of educational access and opportunity, it is a great idea and, in fact, many current students, alumni and community members do volunteer as tutors in Clayton and surrounding districts, including Normandy and City of St Louis. If interested, you can contact your nearest school and/or OASIS at https://www.oasisnet.org/National-Programs/Intergenerational-Tutoring. Of course, more can always be done. Let’s continue to be informed and to push each other.
Get a volunteer to maintain an email list and send emails to those interested in opportunities to advocate for diversity before the school board and otherwise.
If you have ideas and energy to push this idea, please let us know!
Share discussions from missed sessions.
Thanks for asking! Please check out the rest of this website and don’t hesitate to contact us if we can help do just that. Also, we are preparing fact sheets for community information and to help us together move forward.
Share the forum information! House parties?
Absolutely! The more informed our community, the more it can impact its future! We can provide you with fact sheets for each school enrollment category and otherwise support you in sharing the Forum information!
Please let us know if we can help in any other way. Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ideas for future Community Conversations
Hold Discussion on “Dismantling the Divide” Report.
Address effect of desegregation on city neighborhoods.
That’s an interesting and complex issue. The VICC board is currently engaged in strategic planning which may include consideration of the positive and negative impacts of student transfers not only on individual students and families, but on city and county schools and communities short and long term.
One forum takeaway - In opening up these conversations, we learned of so many District alum, including our presenters and panelists, who are not only informed and concerned about inequities and resegregation, but who are committed to advancing racial and educational equity, locally and regionally. Though the impact of this does not neatly plot on a point-in-time test score graph, this reality is both affirming and a critical factor for long term change.
Discuss CSD equity efforts for African American students.
The focus of this series was on Brown v. Board of Education through the eyes of CSD - the history, legal considerations, local and regional racial demographics, personal experiences and perspectives, community values, and next steps. As we heard each night of the series, integrating schools and communities cannot be separated from ensuring that experiences and opportunities are equitable. One of our committee’s take-aways is community’s interest in hearing more about and addressing the work and progress of the Board’s Equity Initiative.
Explore “whiteness” - for adults and with our children through book clubs and other efforts.
There is certainly interest in more. For current efforts, check out what your child’s school may be doing (or be interested in doing), and check out the RESOURCES tab on this website.
These conversations were Excellent, both for District and because they relate to broader issues of equity and inclusion in St Louis.
We need to celebrate diversity, yet also own the struggle of desegregation without integration.
Giving foundation in Nights 1 and 2 enriched Night 3’s discussions.
Thank you! Keep Them Going. Keep the Conversations Going!
This forum took tremendous effort and we thank YOU for your interest and participation and your requests for more! Together let’s keep the conversations informed and alive, and then see where they can take us.