With some anger, some defiance and some celebration, the elected board of the Normandy school district held its final meeting Thursday night.
On Tuesday, the district will be replaced by the Normandy Schools Collaborative, to be run by a board whose members have not yet all been appointed. Ty McNichols is set to remain as superintendent, but he and other administrators will be working without contracts.
The St. Louis area has had more than its share of education headlines this past year. St. Louis schools are trying to regain accreditation amid much turmoil. Normandy and Riverview Gardens lost their accreditation. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has taken over the Normandy School District and announced that all teachers must reapply for their jobs. Riverview Gardens is in a holding pattern as it has enough resources to continue school for a while, but uncertainty remains and its academic record is poor.
As promised, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed on Tuesday the wide-ranging school transfer bill passed by lawmakers this year, saying it violates basic principles of public education and does nothing to help students trapped in unaccredited schools.
At the offices of Education Plus in west St. Louis County, the governor listed three main reasons for his action.
The St. Louis region needs more immigrants to help bolster the economy.
That's the basic premise behind the St. Louis Mosaic Project, an initiative to make the St. Louis region the fastest growing major metro area of foreign-born residents by 2020.
A key part of the project – which is supported by an A-list of St. Louis city and county officials – is retaining international students. Area universities figure they can pitch in and are gathering at Washington University Tuesday to discuss the best ways for St. Louis to hang on to international students after graduation.
Anxiety crept through SheRon Chaney when she heard that the Francis Howell School District would no longer accept about 350 transfer students from Normandy who were signed up to continue in the program.
“Last year we were hopeful, this year we’re fearful,” she said.
Chaney transferred her middle school aged daughter BrenNae to Maplewood Richmond Heights last year. And even though Francis Howell’s decision — made during a closed session of its school board — doesn’t affect her directly, it has Chaney and hundreds of other parents holding their breath.
The Francis Howell School District announced today it will no longer accept transfer students from Normandy. The district was expecting roughly 350 students who transferred last fall to continue during the coming school year. Last summer, the soon-to-be-dissolved Normandy School District selected Francis Howell as its transportation option for students.
Because the Normandy Schools Collaborative will have no accreditation status, the Francis Howell district said it is no longer legally obligated to accept transfer students.
While policy debates and legal battles swirl around the new Normandy school district, Savonna Stacey has a more personal question:
Where can her son attend first grade when the new school year starts?
The Stacey family lives in the Normandy school district, and last summer, Stacey took advantage of the state law that lets students living in unaccredited districts enroll in nearby accredited ones. She enrolled Jonathan in kindergarten in Ritenour.
JEFFERSON CITY — More than 130 students whose families moved into the Normandy School District last summer to be able take advantage of the school transfer program will be shut out of the program this coming school year under a policy adopted by the state board of education Monday.