School of Innovation approved by board

The Mehlville Board of Education voted to approve the Choice School of Innovation at its meeting Jan. 18.

The Choice School of Innovation will allow elementary school students to move at their own pace through project-based curriculum designed to prepare students for the challenges of the real world better than traditional desks-in-rows classrooms.

Dr. Scott Clark will serve as the principal of the new school. He is the current principal at Forder Elementary and has been for the last seven years. This makeover will take place in former St. John’s School at Lemay Ferry Road and Will Avenue, across the street from Mehlville High School.

“This is an amazing opportunity, both for me and the children in the Mehlville School District,” Clark said in a district news release. “Making this school a reality will truly be a collaborative effort by the administration, the school board, our teachers and members of the Mehlville and Oakville communities.”

According to district officials, there will be a one-time startup fee of $250,000 to start the school; the on-going project could add up to $400,000 annually. The school will require 13 staff members. Currently, the school already has six teachers, but the district can cut enough staff and aide positions through redistricting to make up for the other seven positions. None of the funds budgeted from Prop R will be used for the school.

Many were worried the school district did not have the money in its budget to fund the project. The district Finance Committee recommended against the new school, since it would speed up the point at which the district falls into deficit in five-year projections by one year. Board members said they would be more in favor of CSOI, if the recurring cost would be further brought down.