Where I've Been:

District Overview

District Profile

Enrollment – 4,130 (2016-17)

Conway Elementary - 333
Old Bonhomme Elementary - 411
Reed Elementary - 394
Spoede Elementary - 412
Fifth Grade Center - 310
Ladue Middle School - 993
Ladue Horton Watkins High School - 1,277

Attendance & Graduation

Student Attendance Days: 178 days (2016)
Graduation Rate: 98.4% (Class of 2016)
Graduates attending a 2- or 4-year college/university - 91% (Class of 2015)

Financial Information (2016)

2015 Per Pupil Expenditure: $15,147.21
Students Eligible for Free & Reduced Lunch (2015-16): 12.1%
Teacher Salary Range: $42,449-$110,067
Average Teacher Salary: $67,991.83
Percentage of Total Operating Budget for Salaries & Benefits: 74.9%
Assessed Valuation (as of Dec. 31, 2015): $1,508,769,990

2016-17 Tax Rates:


$3.1645 (residential)
$3.1395 (commercial)
$3.2390 (agricultural)
$3.24 (personal property)

Debt Service: $0.78

Teachers & Classrooms (2016-17)

Full-Time Classroom Teachers: 293
Teachers with 10 or More Years of Experience: 247
Teachers with Advanced Degrees: 286
Student to Certified Staff (K-12): 12:1
Student to Administrator Staff (K-12): 172:1

ACT Test Scores (Class of 2016)

  % Tested Composite English Math Reading Science
Ladue 99% 25.6 26 24.5 26.3 25
Missouri -- 20.2 19.7 19.8 20.6 20.4
National -- 20.8 20.1 20.6 20.3 20.8

SAT Test Scores (Class of 2016)

  Critical Mean Math Mean Writing Mean
Ladue 647 647 649
Missouri 596 599 582
National 496 514 488

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 98.7% of 2014 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 experienced a rapid enrollment increase beginning in 2003, with enrollment increasing 23% (nearly 750 students) over the next ten years and exceeding 4,000 students for the first time since 1978 in the 2013-14 school year. On the official 2015 Missouri “Count Day,” the district’s total enrollment was 4,165.
  • For the 2015-16 school year, the district established an operating budget of $58.8 million, with anticipated revenue of $59.6 million. Of total district revenue, 94 percent is derived 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.
  • In the spring of 2016, Ladue Horton Watkins High School was rated the number one public school district in the state by S. News and World Report.
  • 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.
  • In 2015, The Washington Post ranked Ladue Horton Watkins High School the third most challenging high school in Missouri behind one magnet school (Metro Academic and Classical) and one private high school (John Burroughs).
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • In 2014 and 2016, the Ladue School District was named one of St. Louis’ Top Workplaces based on the results of an employee survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics.

Key Initiatives

  • In April 2016, voters approved Proposition R, an $85.1 million bond referendum with the primary purpose of significantly renovating Ladue Horton Watkins High School. The project will target the academic core of the building which has not been significantly updated since being built in the 1950s and 1960s.  Renovation began in the summer of 2016 and the project is anticipated to be substantially completed by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.  The maintenance and development of educational facilities optimal to the learning needs of students is guided by the district’s Master Facilities Plan. 
  • In April 2012, voters approved Proposition 1, a ballot initiative adding $.49 to the district’s operating tax levy. This was 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.   An updated Strategic Plan will be developed during the 2016-17 school year.

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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