School Transfers, Follow The Money (Part 2)
Right now, there are so many unknowns when it comes to the issue of student transfers from unaccredited school districts. How many students will leave Riverview Gardens and Normandy? What schools will they attend? How much tuition will the districts pay? Etc., etc., etc. The one thing we know for sure is that the two districts the unaccredited districts will be providing transportation to — Francis Howell and Mehlville — do not seem excited to have been selected.
Many are still asking why these two unlikely districts were chosen. In my last post, I pointed to the most obvious reason — money. The unaccredited districts have to pay tuition to the accredited districts that accept their students. Therefore, they have every incentive to persuade their transferring students to attend a district that spends less than they spend in their own district.
Some question whether money could really explain the unaccredited district’s rationale and encouraged me to look at academics. For that reason, I present the table below. In this table, I present the percentage of students who scored proficient or advanced on state exams in English language arts and mathematics. Once again, I provide the current expenditure per pupil.
As you can see, the Mehlville and Francis Howell school districts clearly perform better than the two unaccredited districts. However, they are far from standouts in this regard. In fact, eight school districts outperform Francis Howell and 11 (including Francis Howell) outperform Mehlville. Of those higher performing districts, none spends less than Mehlville and only two spend less than Francis Howell.
I certainly cannot rule out academics as one of the deciding factors in determining where to provide transportation, but it seems clear that it was not the deciding factor.