Normandy website

As opposed to the negative vote and heated discussion back in October, Thursday night's bills won approval without any comment, though one member voted no.

The issue was the same, but the atmosphere – and the vote – were quite different Thursday night at the Normandy school board.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public radio

  The crowd was a lot smaller at Wednesday night’s second hearing called by Missouri state school officials into the future of the Normandy school district, but its passion remained strong.

And its message was a simple one: Their school district deserves more time to turn itself around, so the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) should come up with a plan that stops students transfers and helps Normandy survive.

Missouri Senate

A proposal to circumvent thousands of potential student transfers in the Kansas City area may be considered by the Missouri General Assembly next year.

Governor's website

Gov. Jay Nixon wants public universities in Missouri to keep their tuition the same for the 2014-15 school year in exchange for an increase of $36.7 million in his budget request for higher education.

comedy_nose / Flickr

Updated 5:06 p.m. with statement from Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 

The Missouri Supreme Court has again upheld a law requiring unaccredited school districts to pay for students who chose to attend elsewhere.

DESE website

Despite a growing chorus for Chris Nicastro to leave her post as Missouri’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education, the head of the state’s school board gave her a vote of confidence Monday and defended the selection of a consultant currently looking into the Kansas City schools.

Nicastro has come under fire in recent weeks, first for her consultation with an education advocacy group on its initiative petition that included changes in teacher tenure, then from a Kansas City Star story on Sunday.

knittymarie / Flickr

Teachers in Mount Olive Ill. are going on strike Monday morning.   

The dispute between teachers and the board of education in the small town about 50 miles north east of St. Louis hinges on salary, retirement benefits and health insurance.

“We’ve bargained through the terms of an expired contract through last August and this is the point it’s come to,” said Marcus Albrecht, regional director for the Illinois Education Association.

A key sticking point is teacher pay in their last four years of employment.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis startup wants to provide schools with a curriculum, training and support to help teachers show students how to write computer code so they can land a good job even if they don't go to college.

To get an idea of why training students to write computer code should be a higher priority for schools, consider these numbers:

Cast a Line / Flickr

After traveling the state to get feedback from educators and community members, the Missouri House Interim Committee on Education has released its final report.

Among the recommendations is a tuition limit for what an unaccredited district pays when a student transfers to an accredited district in the same or adjoining county.

(Go here for an FAQ on student transfers)

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

The Superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant School District, Art McCoy, spoke publicly today for the first time about being placed on administrative leave by the school board on Nov. 6.

Last week the Missouri Department of Education said it had found “significant alterations” to 2012 student attendance data that was submitted in August, and that it will work with district staff to make the necessary corrections. The state factors attendance numbers into how much funding a district will receive.   

(File images)

During the University of Missouri Board of Curators' two-day meeting at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the board unanimously approved the merger of the non-profit news organizations St. Louis Public Radio and the St. Louis Beacon, which is expected to be completed next month.

Leadership at both organizations has been planning the merger for more than a year.

St. Louis Public Radio’s license is held by the University of Missouri Curators, and the merger required the board’s approval.

_J_D_R_ / Flickr

In Missouri, the average student loan debt for people between 25 and 34-years-old has increased by about 120 percent over the past eight years. In Illinois, that number has jumped more than 140 percent, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Nationally, student loan debt has topped the $1 trillion mark, surpassing credit card debt and auto loans.  

Courtesy of Beyond Housing

A recent decision by the Normandy School District will set the stage for the state and our region to address the financial aspect of the student transfer law.   Whether or not you agree with their decision, Normandy was not in any financial trouble before the transfer ruling and was in full compliance of state standards of fiscal soundness.  So how did we get here?

Courtesy of Show Me Institute

Imagine going to a school where less than a quarter of students are reading on grade level and a third of your classmates will never make it to graduation. Many students in the St. Louis area do not have to imagine because that is their sad reality. Until recently, students in these failing schools have been trapped unless they could afford private school tuition or they could move to a different school district.

(via Flickr/frankjuarez)

A state audit released Tuesday finds that local governments and school districts in Missouri have cost themselves $43 million by not allowing competition for underwriting public bonds.

State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) cites the practice of negotiated bond sales, in which an underwriter is hired in advance and sometimes acts as a financial advisor to the local government that issues the bond.

Dianitia Butler has been in the Normandy School District her entire life.

The senior at Normandy High School is quick to tell you that it’s been a rough year, and she’s especially frustrated by staff reductions brought on by expenses associated with school transfer.

Despite the challenges, she’ll also tell you that school spirit is alive and well. 

“It’s definitely students coming together as one,” Butler said, who is also the student representative for the school board.   “Seeing that we’re all in this together.”



This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We are in St. Louis, Missouri today for a special broadcast from St. Louis Public Radio. We're going to be giving you a bit of St. Louis flavor. In a few minutes, we will talk about one of the city's biggest bragging rights. Hint, it has nothing to do with swinging a bat or throwing a ball.

comedy_nose / Flickr

While two Catholic grade schools will close in south St. Louis next fall, seven other parishes confirmed today that their schools will remain open.

All nine schools are members of the South City Collaboration, a coalition of parishes working together on challenges in their schools like declining enrollment, financial difficulties and the shifting population of south St. Louis. 

Host Michel Martin continues the conversation surrounding Missouri's controversial school transfer policy with Don Marsh of St. Louis Public Radio; Ty McNichols, who leads the city's Normandy School District; and Eric Knost, Superintendent of Mehlville School District.

Cast a Line / Flickr

Many state officials have been receptive to a fresh proposal to overhaul the state’s school accreditation system, but the plan would take years to implement and won’t help the districts facing bankruptcy over student transfer and tuition costs.