Updated at 4:57 p.m. with comments from DESE's Margie Vandeven; Peter Herschend, State Board of Education President; and Chris Nicastro, Mo. Education Commissioner.
St. Louis schools are no longer unaccredited, following a unanimous vote today by the State Board of Education. The struggling district, which has been under state control for five years, will now have provisional, but not full, accreditation.
St. Louis schools lost their accreditation five years ago and were soon after placed under state control, but they have improved over the past two years. In 2010 they only met 3 out of 14 performance standards, with six being the minimum require for provisional accreditation. Last year they met the minimum six, and this year they’ve met seven performance standards. State Board Member Peter Herschend (R) says, though, there’s no guarantee the vote will go St. Louis’s way.
On Tuesday the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will consider granting provisional accreditation to St. Louis Public Schools, and the religious group Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU) plans to push state officials to move forward with re-instating local control over the district.
Sunday, the religious group held its annual public meeting and Barbara Paulus, who leads the Economic Task Force for MCU, said earning back accreditation is a key part of ensuring kids get the education they’re entitled to.
Missouri lawmakers will again push legislation aimed at preventing an exodus of Kansas City and St. Louis students from their failing schools and overwhelming neighboring districts.
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled last year that students living in unaccredited districts are owed free transfers and that accredited schools must take the students. The courts continue to work out the details.
Normandy may retain that status for up to a year -- however, the State Board could also choose to revoke the provisional accreditation entirely at any time during the next year. State Board Member Peter Herschend says Normandy schools are improving, but not enough to warrant full accreditation.