Where I've Been:

District Overview

District Profile

Enrollment – 4,165 (2015-16)

Conway Elementary - 318
Old Bonhomme Elementary - 378
Reed Elementary - 422
Spoede Elementary - 430
Fifth Grade Center - 342
Ladue Middle School - 974
Ladue Horton Watkins High School - 1,301

Attendance & Graduation

Student Attendance Days: 178 days (2014)
Graduation Rate: 96.5% (Class of 2015)
Graduates attending a 2- or 4-year college/university - 91% (Class of 2015)

Financial Issues (2015-16)

2015 Per Pupil Expenditure: $14,852.67
Students Eligible for Free & Reduced Lunch (2015-16): 12.1%
Teacher Salary Range: $41,829-$108,567
Average Teacher Salary: $67,759
Percentage of Total Operating Budget for Salaries & Benefits: 75%
Assessed Valuation (as of Dec. 31, 2014): $1,423,709,590

2015-16 Tax Rates:


$3.1438 (residential)
$3.2409 (commercial)
$3.75 (agricultural)
$3.24 (personal property)

Debt Service: $0.39

Teachers & Classrooms (2015-16)

Full-Time Classroom Teachers: 297
Teachers with 10 or More Years of Experience: 247
Teachers with Advanced Degrees: 233
Student to Certified Staff (K-12): 12:2
Student to Administrator Staff (K-12): 181:1

ACT Test Scores (Class of 2014)

  % Tested Composite English Math Reading Science
Ladue 91.6% 25.7 26.1 24.6 26.1 25.4
Missouri -- 21.7 21.4 21.0 22.2 21.7
National -- 21.0 20.4 20.8 21.4 20.9

SAT Test Scores (Class of 2015)

  Critical Mean Math Mean Writing Mean
Ladue 637 636 622
Missouri 596 599 582
National 495 511 484

Ladue Early Childhood Center

More than 725 families receive services through the center through programs such as Parents As Teachers, Parents and Children Together and preschool classes.

An Exceptional District

  • The Ladue School District comprises all or part of ten self-governed communities in St. Louis County, and encompasses approximately 19 square miles with a population of more than 27,000 residents.
  • The student body is socio-economically diverse with a graduation rate consistently exceeding 90 percent with 96.5% of 2015 graduates continuing on to college.
  • The parents and community residents are highly active in the schools and serve as members of Board of Education advisory committees, strategic planning initiatives, task forces and parent organizations.
  • The district is growing in student enrollment with a 26% increase (858 students) over the last ten years. According to projections, enrollment is expected to continue to increase gradually over the next several years.
  • The district has established a preliminary operating budget of $59.4 million for the 2015-16 fiscal year, and derives 92 percent of its revenue from local sources, the majority of which comes from property taxes.

National and Regional Recognitions

  • Widely recognized as one of the premier public school districts in the nation.
  • For the past 20 years, the National Merit Program has recognized approximately 10 percent of the members of each graduating class as a finalist, semifinalist or commended student.
  • The vast majority of our students take the ACT exam and Ladue Schools’ average composite score remains among the highest in the state for public schools with open enrollment.
  • In its 2014 ratings of “America’s Best High Schools,” The Daily Beast ranked Ladue Horton Watkins High School first in the state, seventh in the midwest and 70th in the country.
  • The district has earned the prestigious “Distinction in Performance” Award from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) each year the award has been given since 2001.
  • The district has five Blue Ribbon Schools (two schools have been recognized twice) and three Gold Star Schools (two schools have been recognized twice).
  • Ladue Middle School, Old Bonhomme Elementary School and Spoede Elementary School have earned distinction as Missouri Schools of Character. This program is conducted by CHARACTERplus, a division of EducationPlus, and is the most rigorous award process in the field of character education.
  • Ladue Middle School was named a 2014 National School of Character by The Character Education Partnership, a national advocate and leader for the character education movement. The National Schools of Character program recognizes schools that have demonstrated the use of character education and development to drive a positive impact on academics, student behavior, and school climate.

Key Initiatives

  • In April 2012, voters approved Proposition 1, a ballot initiative adding $.49 to the district’s operating tax levy. This is the first operating tax increase passed by voters since 1993. The district’s request came after district property tax revenue dropped 8% over five years, during which time the district made over $7 million in expenditure reductions. The passing of Prop 1 allowed the district to forego $2.1 million in additional expenditure reductions for the 2012-13 school year.
  • Since 2012, the district has operated under a 2% expenditure increase parameter as set forth by the Board of Education in order to prolong the need to ask the community for additional tax dollars. Even assuming assessments continue to remain flat, it is anticipated this practice will allow the district to remain financially stable without asking voters for an increase in the operating tax until at least 2020.  The district has a AAA rating from Standard and Poor’s and is one of the few public school district in Missouri, and one of less than a hundred in the nation, to hold this designation.
  • District voters passed three bond referendums over the last 11 years to build and renovate facilities. In 2001, a $40.9 million bond issue was passed to renovate and expand existing buildings. In April 2007, a $29.97 million bond issue resulted in the expansion and renovation of all K-12 buildings, as well as upgrades in technology, safety and security systems. In April 2010, a $32 million bond issue allowed the district to purchase property with existing educational facilities. A new early childhood center was built on this property and opened in the fall of 2012. An existing building was renovated and opened as the Fifth Grade Center in fall of 2013, alleviating overcrowding in the district’s four elementary schools.
  • The district’s Strategic Plan was updated in the 2013-14 school year with a focus on six key initiatives centered around three broad areas of concentration: High Quality Teaching and Learning, Optimal Learning Environment and Educating the Whole Child.  

A Master Facilities Plan has been developed and approved by the Board to provide future plans and guidance in maintaining and developing educational facilities optimal to the learning needs of students now and in the future.  The next major area of focus is a renovation of the district’s high school, the majority of which has not been substantially updated since the 1950’s.   The district is currently exploring the possibility of putting a referendum to support this initiative on the ballot in April 2016.  

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Our Superintendent

Dr. Donna Jahnke has been with the Ladue School District for 24 years and began her role as the district’s superintendent on July 1, 2013, after having served as the district’s Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning since 2008.

On March 25, 2015, Dr. Jahnke was named New Superintendent of the Year by the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) for outstanding performance as a new superintendent.  Dr. Jahnke also serves on the steering committee of the St. Louis Regional Collaborative for Educational Excellence which was formed in June 2015 by all St. Louis County public schools to support efforts to assist the Normandy Schools Collaborative and Riverview Gardens School District in regaining accreditation.

Dr. Jahnke began her career in the Ladue School District in 1991 as a classroom teacher, after having worked as a Special Education Teacher for Special School District of St. Louis County.  In 1996, she became Director of Community Services, which included responsibilities as the Director of the Ladue Early Childhood Center, the Parents as Teachers program and all district fee-based programs.  In 1998 she was appointed Principal of Reed Elementary School where she remained until becoming an Assistant Superintendent in 2008.

Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Education, as well as Special Education Certification from Southeast Missouri State University; a Master of Education from the University of Missouri; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from Saint Louis University.

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Missouri Legislators Representing Ladue Schools

Legislators need to hear from you on the issues that are important to you. They expect professional educators and members of school boards to advocate in a certain way for various education-related issues, so they put greater weight in the opinions of their constituents, like you.

To determine who your Missouri legislators are and how to reach them (by phone, fax, letter or e-mail), click here. You will be connected to the Cooperating Schools District (CSD) Legislative Action Center. This Web site is offered to the Ladue Schools and other CSD members as part of its membership services. From this site you can learn who your legislators are and how to communicate with them on various issues.

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