A task force formed to make recommendations on the future of the Normandy School District will be conducting its future business in public, state education officials said Thursday.
The 10-member panel was named by Chris Nicastro, Missouri’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education, at the direction of the state board of education. The group held its first meeting on Monday without public notice and planned to continue meeting in private, according to its chair, Carole Basile, who is dean of the school of education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
A state-appointed task force charged with mapping the future of the Normandy School District has begun meeting in private to come up with recommendations for state school officials by the time the legislative session ends in May.
With the Missouri legislature approaching its spring break, the Senate has passed a sweeping education bill designed to deal with struggling schools and transfers from unaccredited districts, and a bill addressing similar issues is ready for debate in the House.
Missouri education officials say their plan that was the subject of public comment at a meeting Tuesday night is designed to prevent school districts from losing accreditation in the future.
But for most of the night, the speakers and the audience were more concerned with what is going to happen to a district that already is unaccredited and is in danger of going out of business altogether: Normandy.
Updated 5:35 p.m. Tues, Feb. 25, with response from Humphrey:
Terry Artis, an outspoken member of the Normandy School District, says voters should oust three of his incumbent colleagues at the April 8 elections because they are not working in the best interests of the district.
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri State Board of Education surprised the Normandy School District Tuesday by voting to take over its finances in a bid to bolster chances that the district would get $5 million in emergency funds to help it finish the school year.
The state Board also directed the education commissioner to appoint a transition task force immediately to develop a plan for the operation of the Normandy Schools starting in July 2014, if the General Assembly fails to appropriate additional funds for the district, and if the district lapses.
JEFFERSON CITY -- From the start of Monday’s six-hour session considering a variety of ways to help struggling schools, the head of the Missouri board of education emphasized that the state is concerned about long-range, broad-based policy, not the operations of individual districts.
But as board members heard a number of presentations on suggested reforms, the talk returned time and again to the current transfers out of unaccredited school districts and the impact on the students who live there.
As Missouri education officials continue to gather public comment on what the state should do to help unaccredited school districts, one sentiment became clear Wednesday night:
The public needs to have a strong voice in whatever plans are adopted.
In the second of four hearings in the latest round of attempts by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to gauge public sentiment about a variety of plans put forth so far, about 200 people showed up at the J.C. Penney Auditorium on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Time is running out for Normandy schools in north St. Louis County to win extra funding from Missouri lawmakers this school year.
Normandy and Riverview Gardens have experienced an exodus this school year due to the student transfer law. Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro told the House Budget Committee Wednesday that she expects the Normandy School District will be bankrupt by the end of the year.