School Transfers

KB35 | Flickr

Even as lawmakers and others got ready to craft possible changes to the transfer law, EducationPlus released guidelines for the next round of student transfers beginning this coming August.

The first round was a rushed affair. The Missouri Supreme Court did not uphold the transfer law until June 11, though the suit involved had been winding its way through the courts for several years and had already been upheld by the high court once.

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

As planning begins for school transfers in the St. Louis area in the academic year that starts in August, and Missouri lawmakers return to Jefferson City for the new legislative session, one issue will loom large for both groups:

What changes, if any, will come to the transfer law that has dominated so many headlines, discussions and school board meetings in recent months?

(via Flickr / jimbowen0306)

The next session of the Missouri Legislature opens Wednesday, January 8, and with it an uptick in political activity in the state.

Terry Jones, Founders’ Professor of Political Science and Public Policy Administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis joined St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum in studio with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss what to expect during the 2014 session.

Among the issues to keep an eye on this session will be the school transfer issue, Medicaid expansion and transportation tax.

children studying
laura00 | sxc.hu

Students are counting the days until winter break, but there's no break in sight in the controversies over school quality and student transfers.

In recent days, education reporters Tim Lloyd and Dale Singer took the lead in covering developments for the newly combined news operations of St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon. Their work was a good example of how we can serve you better together.

DESE website

After four hearings in Normandy and Riverview Gardens, plus suggestions and plans and proposals from education groups and lawmakers from throughout Missouri, it’s time for state education officials to try to come up with a plan to help struggling school districts.

And Chris Nicastro, the state’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education, wants to make sure that whatever plan her department comes up with, that is the focus: helping underachieving students and schools succeed.

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.

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.

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)

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Beacon.

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.

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.”

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

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.

Michel Martin
Doby Photography / NPR

When Michel Martin, host of NPR’s Tell Me More, brings her show to St. Louis Public Radio’s home of UMSL at Grand Center on November 8, 2013, it should come as no surprise that education will be a topic.

(Courtesy Lisa Thompson/Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

This fall more than 2,500 students climbed on board buses and into taxis leaving the unaccredited Normandy and Riverview Gardens Districts for accredited districts in St. Louis and St. Charles Counties.

The migration began after a ruling this June by the Missouri Supreme Court, which upheld a controversial state law.

It just so happens that the two unaccredited districts are predominantly African-American, and the districts chosen to receive them are largely white.

As St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman reports that’s drawn some comparisons to an earlier time.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Despite a vote by the Normandy school board rejecting payment for tuition and transportation costs for students transferring elsewhere, Missouri education commissioner Chris Nicastro emphasized two points on Friday:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal knows firsthand about the ins and outs of transferring from one school district to another.

When she was a student growing up in University City, her family moved to the city of St. Louis, where she attended a private school for a year. Then, she took advantage of the area’s voluntary desegregation plan and transferred to school in Clayton.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Preparing for a legislative session expected to make changes in Missouri’s student transfer law, state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal is drafting a bill designed to rebuild unaccredited districts, preserve gains made by those on the bubble and sustain those that are solidly in the accredited category.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit that's delaying the implementation of the state's student transfer law in the Kansas City area.

A lower court ruling declared the transfer law to be an unfunded mandate for school districts in Independence, Lee's Summit and North Kansas City, but not for Blue Springs and Raytown.  Attorney Duane Martin argued Blue Springs' position before the High Court, saying the transfer law would be an unfunded mandate for them as well.

(Courtesy of D.J. Wilson)

Cost is factor no matter what you are buying – a six-pack of beer, a pair of jeans, a house, or for a state government, a public education for school-age children.

 Much has been said about the cost of the region’s current inter-district student transfer program. Much of what has been said about that cost has been incomplete, or ill informed.  

The one price tag that’s been floated is $35 million. Let’s break that down. 

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A joint House-Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday on the effects of Missouri's school transfer law, which allows students from unaccredited K-12 schools to transfer to nearby accredited districts.

The 5 1/2-hour hearing kicked off with Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner Chris Nicastro telling the committee of the dire situation facing the state's unaccredited school districts.

bsabarnowl / Flickr

Lawmakers from both the Missouri state Senate and House will meet on Tuesday to collect ideas on how to deal with the school transfer process.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The transfer of students from Normandy and Riverview Gardens to accredited school districts has forced a lot of dislocation and financial stress, but panelists at an education forum said Tuesday it has also prompted people to look at students in a new way.

And, insisted Chris Nicastro, Missouri’s commissioners for elementary and secondary education, despite what some people say, the process has not resulted in a mess.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday the Missouri State House of Representatives Interim Committee on Education kicked off a listening tour geared toward collecting feedback on issues facing schools around the state.

Even though several topics were listed on the agenda, the school transfer process was a big part of the discussion.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Yesterday, we profiled the new superintendent at the Normandy schools.

Now, we introduce you to the man who finds himself in the same position at another struggling school district- Riverview Gardens. 

Courtesy Normandy School District

Now that the school transfer process is in full swing, we’re taking a look at the new superintendents who are hustling to earn back state accreditation for their school districts.

Both men have only been on the job for a few months, and facing long odds, they’re reaching out the community to help get their schools back on track.

This two part report starts on the first day of school in the parking lot of Normandy High School. 

(via Flickr/evmaiden)

Missouri education officials are seeking an additional $6.8 million to help Normandy school district.

The State Board of Education approved the budget request on Tuesday. That's the first step in a process that ultimately requires the support of the governor and Legislature to become a reality.

Students started transferring out of the Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts this year under a state law that requires unaccredited districts to pay the costs for students who want to attend other public schools.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

It was a busy day for the Missouri State Board of Education.

First, the Board heard from Kansas City Public Schools, which is seeking to regain provisional accreditation, citing "rapid improvement."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dear Beaconites --

As a cool breeze chased away the heat, St. Louisans marked the turning of the seasons in two ways this week. The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, opened 10 days of reflection and repentence for some. Labor Day brought the end of summer for all.

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