Open Enrollment: Turner v. Clayton Trial Over School Transfers Begins Monday
Hazelwood School District is awaiting the outcome as more than 300 students wait to get in from unaccredited schools. The case involving the School District of Clayton is expected to last three days, the district's website states.
The school-transfers case formerly known as Turner v. Clayton is scheduled to go to trial beginning Monday afternoon in St. Louis County Circuit Court.
Judge David Lee Vincent III will begin hearing Gina Breitenfeld v. School District of Clayton in Division 9 starting at 1:30 p.m., the website of the School District of Clayton states. The trial is expected to run through Wednesday, though more proceedings could follow.
At the heart of the case is whether suburban St. Louis County school districts such as the School District of Clayton should be required to enroll students who request transfers from unaccredited school districts. Officials representing Clayton schools argue that such a requirement would represent an unfunded mandate.
Impact on the Hazelwood School District
Turner v. Clayton has serious implications for the Hazelwood School District (HSD), which has more than 300 students from the Riverview Gardens School District and St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS)—both of which are unaccredited—on a wait list to attend district schools, Diana Gulotta, Assistant Superintendent for Communications, said.
"When we first started hearing about Turner versus Clayton, it seemed like students would be able to go wherever they wanted and that was scary to us because we have attendance zones with our schools so we can keep class sizes that are reasonable," she said in a previous interview. "And when you have this unknown factor affecting the school district, it can be quite frightening."
At a recent forum held for HSD Board of Education candidates, each had the opportunity to express their viewpoints on open enrollment and the impact it would have on the district. Although each had a different stance on the matter, all three said a decision in favor of open enrollment would have a significant impact on the district.
The Road to Trial
On Feb. 7, Vincent consolidated Turner-related cases under the umbrella of the Breitenfeld case, the website Missouri Case.net states.
Breitenfeld, a St. Louis Public Schools parent who has children enrolled in Clayton schools, is the remaining plaintiff in the case. Two other plaintiffs, Jane Turner and William Drendel, left the case in the fall.
More about Open Enrollment and Turner v. Clayton on Patch:
- School Districts to Legislature: Save Us from a Flood of Students
- Take Two: Turner v. Clayton Discussion Planned by Lawmakers
- Open Enrollment: Legislators Host Town Hall on Student Transfer Lawsuit
- Open Enrollment: 'No Magic Bullet' Will Solve Concerns Over Student Transfers
- Open Enrollement: Judge Grants Taxpayers' Motions to Intervene in Turner Case
- Hazelwood School District's Feb. 15 Meeting Was Jam-Packed
- Hazelwood School District Parents Get To Meet the Candidates