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.
Much like apple pie and motherhood, everybody wants better schools and higher student achievement. The only problem is that no one can quite agree what's the best way to get there.
Once a week, our team of education reporters would like to share stories that look at trends in education here and across the country. In particular, we want to focus on people, research and even gizmos that may help make kids learn better. This week, we've discovered some high-tech — and low-tech — solutions.
Updated at 3:23 p.m. Mon., Feb. 17, with announcement of new SIU president. Some of the jobs came open suddenly, one at the end of a long campus standoff and still others quietly at the end of long, productive tenures, but they all have resulted in room at the top of the ivory tower:
At least four local schools – Saint Louis University, Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis Community College and the Southern Illinois University system – have vacancies in the office of their top administrator or did until Monday, when SIU named a new president.
Updated 4:43 p.m., Fri., Feb. 14 with Wolfe announcing task force on sexual assault policies and mental health issues.
The University of Missouri Board of Curators has hired the St. Louis law firm of Dowd Bennett to investigate the handling of allegations of sexual assault of a former student at the Columbia campus who later committed suicide.
Rep. Rick Stream, chairman of the Missouri House Budget Committee, filed two bills Thursday that could help the Normandy School District avert going bankrupt in April.
One bill, part of a supplemental appropriations request, would provide $5 million in emergency funds for Normandy to help the district finish out the year. The other would result in districts that have received tuition payments for students transferring from unaccredited Normandy paying back some of that money to the district.
If Normandy School District goes bankrupt and its students are sent to other area schools, the effect would be dramatic both financially and educationally, according to a study released Tuesday by the group EducationPlus.
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.
Anyone who attended DESE’s Feb. 5 community forum may have noticed the same thing I noticed: The plan Normandy School District submitted to DESE on Tuesday, Feb. 4, was nowhere to be seen or heard.
DESE’s presentation was designed to inform citizens of the significant characteristics of each plan so the department could take public input into consideration before making a recommendation to the Missouri School Board. (A PDF of the DESE presentation is available online.)
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.