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Politically Speaking: Chappelle-Nadal Details Student Transfer Bill's Impact

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

This week, St. Louis Public Radio's education reporter Dale Singer joins Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies as we welcome back state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, to the show. 

The Politically Speaking podcast is diverging from our usual alternating schedule of Republican and Democratic guests. Instead, we are focusing on opposing views on one of the region's hottest issues: the transfer of students from the Normandy and Riverview Gardens school districts -- both unaccredited -- to neighboring districts.

Note: You can subscribe to us on iTunes.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced last week that he's vetoing the bill that Chappelle-Nadal had co-sponsored, largely because of its provision calling for a "private option'' to allow public money to go private nonsectarian schools.  She also served on the conference committee that hammered out the final version of the bill.

The bill's opponents include state Rep. Clem Smith, D-Velda Village Hills, who sharply criticized the legislation on last week's Politically Speaking podcast.

Chappelle-Nadal requested to be on the show to provide another perspective.

Among other things, the senator said:

  • Her primary aim is to preserve the Normandy district, which Chappelle-Nadal contends is in danger of collapsing if the current transfer law remains in effect. That law burdens the district with the tuition and transportation costs of the student transfers.
  • She wants to end the growing costs to the districts caused by families moving into Normandy and Riverview Gardens specifically to transfer their children to other districts at no cost to the families.
  • She defended the private option, saying that it was the key compromise that produced enough votes to get the bill through the GOP-controlled General Assembly.
  • She remains sharply critical of Gov. Jay Nixon, who Chappelle-Nadal contends has no plan for an alternative to her bill.

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter@jrosenbaum

Follow Dale Singer on Twitter: @dalesinger

Follow Maria Chappelle-Nadal on Twitter: @mariachappellen

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.
Dale Singer began his career in professional journalism in 1969 by talking his way into a summer vacation replacement job at the now-defunct United Press International bureau in St. Louis; he later joined UPI full-time in 1972. Eight years later, he moved to the Post-Dispatch, where for the next 28-plus years he was a business reporter and editor, a Metro reporter specializing in education, assistant editor of the Editorial Page for 10 years and finally news editor of the newspaper's website. In September of 2008, he joined the staff of the Beacon, where he reported primarily on education. In addition to practicing journalism, Dale has been an adjunct professor at University College at Washington U. He and his wife live in west St. Louis County with their spoiled Bichon, Teddy. They have two adult daughters, who have followed them into the word business as a communications manager and a website editor, and three grandchildren. Dale reported for St. Louis Public Radio from 2013 to 2016.

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