On Monday the Missouri State House of Representatives Interim Committee on Education kicked off a listening tour geared toward collecting feedback on issues facing schools around the state.
Even though several topics were listed on the agenda, the school transfer process was a big part of the discussion.
During the meeting held at St. Charles Community College, Superintendent of the unaccredited Riverview Gardens School District, Scott Spurgeon, urged committee members to visit his schools while considering changes to the transfer law.
Francis Howell Superintendent Pam Sloan said accepting hundreds of transfer students from the unaccredited Normandy School District has taken their eye off the ball.
“I spend hours a day working on this situation so that it is constantly smooth,” Sloan said. “So, consequently I’m not working on all the business I should be working on that I was hired to do there.”
Committee chairman Steve Cookson said the controversial school transfer process has made fixing issues in education a priority.
“Once again, not our kids not our problem has got to be a thing of the past, all these kids have got to be important to us as we try to develop public policy,” Cookson said.
Cookson reminded people at the hearing the committee does not deal with funding issues.
“We will not be able to respond in any way about funding because that’s not the charge of this committee,” Cookson said.
Last week the State Board of Education approved a $6.8 million budget request for the Normandy School District, which may not be able to cover tuition and transportation costs associated with students transfering out of its schools. The additional funding would come as a supplemental state budget item, and the earliest it could be considered is when the new legislative session opens up in January.
The committee’s listening tour will continue across the state through Wednesday, the Joint Committee on Education is set to meet in Jefferson City on Oct. 1 with the sole purpose of discussing the school transfer process.
Follow Tim Lloyd on Twitter: @TimSLloyd