Mehlville board to weigh first step toward redistricting

By Gloria Lloyd

The Mehlville Board of Education will consider tonight whether to move toward redistricting schools, particularly elementary-school boundaries, for the first time in more than a dozen years.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. today — Thursday, March 17 — in the Daniel S. Fowler Board Room at the Administration Building, 3120 Lemay Ferry Road.

With some elementary schools packed and some schools with plenty of room according to the district’s current capacity guidelines, Superintendent Chris Gaines will ask the board to issue a request for proposals, or RFP, for a demographer to examine where students should be shifted and where the district will grow in the future with the opening of several new subdivisions.

Some schools are so packed that Mehlville needs redistricting even if it does not open the Choice School for Innovation, a lottery-based districtwide school of choice, Gaines said.

A professional demographer could likely cost an estimated $20,000, but Gaines said if district officials run the numbers in-house without professional advice on where growth will happen and when, they’ll probably have to redistrict again in a few years anyway.

The elementary schools with the most room are on the southwest side of the district, Hagemann and Trautwein, but it’s not as simple as just moving children into those schools, Gaines noted.

“The problem is it’s a puzzle,” he said. “We’re crowded over here, but we’re undercrowded over here — but there’s schools in between. So you’ve got to move out of here into here, out of here into here, all across the district.”