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Important call to action from Parkway superintendent

We need to let you know about an important issue in the Missouri legislature that was mentioned in today’s Post-Dispatch. I say important because it has the potential to substantially increase class sizes in Parkway and also cost millions of dollars in state education funding throughout Missouri. It is a bad situation, but with your help, it can be fixed before the session ends next Friday, May 13.

As background, this all stems from a 2010 Missouri Supreme Court decision in the case of Turner v. The School District of Clayton. The court ruled that students residing in unaccredited school districts are entitled to attend an accredited school in the same or adjoining county, regardless of whether the receiving school has room to accept them. 

If the ruling is allowed to stand:

  • Parkway would be required to admit an unlimited number of new students regardless of the school board’s class size policy.
  • Students currently attending private or parochial schools in unaccredited districts could also attend Parkway at the state’s expense.
  • Millions of dollars in additional funding would be required, placing a tremendous burden on Missouri’s already strained budget.

Parkway’s mission is the same for every child who walks through our doors. We are committed to providing a high quality education for all students, including those from the City of St. Louis who have been enrolled in Parkway over the past 35 years through the Voluntary Student Transfer program. However, we shouldn’t create a sudden influx of students without giving schools the resources or controls necessary to provide a quality education. That type of solution will not serve any students well, regardless of their home district.

The good news is there is a solution. State Representative Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood, and a former school board member) has written a “Turner Fix” (See HB 763) that would clarify the law and ensure Parkway has reasonable control over enrollment decisions. Since last fall, Parkway has been working with area legislators and other education groups like the St. Louis Cooperating School Districts toward this solution. Our government relations committee has contacted legislators urging them to take action and I have personally made several trips to Jefferson City to testify.

Unfortunately, some legislators are holding the Turner Fix hostage. They won’t support it unless they can tack on their own special interests to the bill. This is not right. The Turner Fix is too important for our children to be used as a negotiating tool. The answer is simple and Rep. Stream has written the language to do it.

How you can help--If you want to express your support for Rep. Stream’s language, you should contact your state senator and representative. Simply click the link below, enter your address to find contact information (including phone and e-mail) for your state elected officials, and take action. You can also share this e-mail with others in your social network.


Here are some points you may want to include in your message:

  • A Turner Fix is vital to the entire St. Louis region.
  • Rep. Rick Stream’s language from HB 763 should be adopted as the Turner Fix.
  • The quality of education for all students involved is at stake if schools become overcrowded and underfunded.
  • The Turner Fix is too important for the education of students to be used as a negotiating tool.
  • It is not acceptable to let the court make decisions that belong to locally-elected school boards.

Time is of the essence – the session ends next Friday. Thank you for your attention to this important issue.


Don Senti