The Webster Groves School District has hired a California firm that specializes in education finance consulting and demographic analysis to help the district implement its plan for expanding five neighborhood elementary schools into six.

At the board’s Sept. 9 meeting, Cooperative Strategies was awarded a contract for roughly $50,000 to redraw the district’s elementary school boundary lines in time for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.

A key component of the plan approved last year when voters passed Prop E is to convert the existing Steger Sixth Grade Center/Dr. Henry Givens Jr. Elementary building into a K-5 neighborhood school.

The district sent out requests over the summer seeking a firm to do the analysis and accompanying outreach. Five firms responded with Cooperative Strategies and MGT Consulting Group of Seattle coming in as the top two.

A selection team including Webster Groves School District Superintendent, as well as Pam Frazier, Bruce Ellerman, Kristin Denbow, recommended the board hire Cooperative Strategies.

Simpson told the board that Cooperative Strategies has “successfully facilitated processes such as ours across the country and around the globe for many years” and has a proven track record of engaging communities in redistricting processes.

Secret Donor Gives District $10,000 Gift

An anonymous donor has gifted the school district $10,000 to be used to benefit Avery Elementary School.

Avery Principal Kevin Starks will be put in touch with the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, to determine how the funds will be spent. As of the Sept. 9 board meeting, no determination had been made as to how the money will be used.