unaccredited schools

An empty desk
Bubbles | sxc.hu

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri state Board of Education voted Friday to approve a plan to intervene in struggling school districts. It also sent the message that it will become more active in making sure districts adopt policies that will result in success.

The plan, revised from a draft version presented to the board last month, spells out various avenues of support that would be provided to or required of school districts depending on how well they score on their annual performance review.

Supporters of Normandy School District Rally

Mar 15, 2014
St. Louis Public Radio

“Normandy Strong” was the cry Saturday at a rally for supporters of the Normandy School District, whose future is uncertain after losing accreditation and bearing the tuition costs of students transferred to other districts.

Officials estimate the district will be bankrupt in April if millions of dollars in supplemental funding isn’t approved by the legislature. Supporters are hopeful that the district, currently unaccredited, can survive this school year and beyond.  

An empty desk
Bubbles | sxc.hu

(Story updated at 5:42 p.m. to include today's 3rd-read vote by the full Senate that sent SB 493 to the Missouri House.)

After spending two days debating and amending legislation to lessen the effects of Missouri's student transfer law, the state Senate overwhelmingly passed it Thursday.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The Missouri Senate has begun debate on legislation to lessen the effects of the state's student transfer law.

The wide-ranging bill attempts to address both the law and unaccredited districts.  Provisions within Senate Bill 493 include accrediting individual school buildings instead of districts as a whole and creating regional authorities across the state to oversee transfers.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Nine bills that either directly addressed or were related to school transfers and accreditation were combined into one bill and passed Thursday by the Missouri Senate's Education Committee.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio/The Beacon

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.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri State Board of Education voted Tuesday to increase oversight of the state's unaccredited school districts.

The vote came a week before a new state law takes effect that will allow Missouri to move more quickly towards taking over unaccredited school districts.  Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro says state officials will soon begin to heighten their presence in those districts.

Entrance to Normandy High School campus
(via Google Maps screen capture)

The Missouri Board of Education has voted unanimously to strip the accreditation from another St. Louis-area school district.

Normandy schools had been under provisional accreditation for the past year, but had been “on thin ice,” in the words of State Board Member Peter Herschend (R, Branson).  He says the district has again failed to meet the minimum nine out of 14 performance standards required for accreditation.

“If you look at the academic results in all of the core content areas, save one, they are at the bottom end of attainment," Herschend said.  "Do I think that’s significant?  You’re damn right I think that’s significant!”

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The Missouri Senate has passed bills that would allow for more charter schools in the state and would also allow the state to take over failing school districts more quickly.

In a 31-2 vote Wednesday, the Senate gave final backing to a measure that would allow charter schools to be set up in districts that have been declared unaccredited.

Kansas City and St. Louis are the only districts allowed to have charter schools under current Missouri law.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

The Missouri Supreme Court is deciding whether the Webster Groves school district must enroll a student from the city of St. Louis.

The court heard arguments Wednesday on a case related to Missouri law that allows students from unaccredited districts to transfer to accredited districts. State lawmakers are also considering how to implement or revise the law. Three school systems in St. Louis and Kansas City are unaccredited. 

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Legislation that’s designed to stop a potential mass exodus of students from unaccredited schools in St. Louis and Kansas City to nearby suburban schools was heard Tuesday before a Missouri Senate committee.

The bill’s provisions include scholarships for kids in unaccredited public schools to attend private schools, and it would allow accredited schools to open charter schools in unaccredited districts.  Tina Hardin of St. Louis spoke in favor of the bill.  Her son was accepted into a Catholic school, but says she can’t afford to send him there.

(via Flickr/Lauren Manning)

Missouri lawmakers will again push legislation aimed at preventing an exodus of Kansas City and St. Louis students from their failing schools and overwhelming neighboring districts.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled last year that students living in unaccredited districts are owed free transfers and that accredited schools must take the students. The courts continue to work out the details.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A state legislative committee heard testimony today on what options should be considered for students enrolled at unaccredited schools in Missouri.  It’s part of another effort to address a recent State Supreme Court ruling.

Turner v. Clayton affirmed that students not only have the right to transfer away from an unaccredited school district, but that the failing district has to pick up the tab.  State and local officials fear it could lead to a mass exodus from schools in St. Louis, Kansas City and Riverview Gardens.