Sikeston students forced to switch schools or pay tuition, parents upset

Sikeston students forced to switch schools or pay tuition, parents upset

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - Some parents in Sikeston, Missouri are speaking out about their kids being forced to switch school districts in the middle of the school year.

Part of Sikeston is in Scott County and part is in New Madrid County. However, it's not these boundaries that have the parents of 15 students so upset.

"It makes no sense financially or emotionally for the children," Sally Willis said.

Back in the early 2000s, parts of the school district lines in both Scott and New Madrid were re-evaluated. That's before Deerfield Village apartment complex was built. It was recently brought to the attention of school district administrators that the complex is technically in New Madrid County School District.

"Your student has been incorrectly enrolled in the Sikeston School District," mother of three, Malinda Ballew, said as she read a letter from the New Madrid County School District.

"They made a police officer deliver this to me," Ballew said.

Ballew said the change is tough on her five year old.

"She doesn't like the idea, she really enjoys her school," Ballew said.

Little Ariel likes her friends, her classes and her teacher. However, Ballew said financially, they can't move into Sikeston School District, especially right before the holidays.

"It's not that easy to just move when you have three kids and you're just kind of stuck," Ballew said.

But other families are moving.

"We did have to be uprooted to do what was right for her," Amanda Hill said.

Hill has three kids and her youngest has special needs.

"I don't want my four year old, who is developmentally delayed, on a bus for who knows how long," Hill said.

Sikeston Superintendent Tom Williams said moving the boundaries is not easy, even though the current lines are confusing.

Parents say what makes it more difficult on kids is that it all happened so fast.

"We have until Dec 19th to move and we just received the letter within the past month," Hill said.

Still, some are hoping for a change in plans.

"It's just stressful for all kids," Hill said.

"I hope they change their minds for these kids," Willis said.

When asked 'Why now?' Superintendent Williams said the issue simply wasn't brought to the administrators' attentions until recently.

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