Restrictions on Student Transfers from Normandy District
June 17, 2014

(AP) – The Missouri State Board of Education moved ahead Monday with policies limiting student transfers from the struggling Normandy School District in St. Louis County with an eye toward controlling costs.

Students who stayed in the Normandy School District during the most recent school year could not transfer in the future to nearby districts, and students who transferred this year would return to Normandy if they had not spent at least one semester there in the 2012-2013 school year. That affects 131 students, Missouri education officials estimate.

Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro said students eligible to transfer could do that, so long as the receiving district agrees to accept a lower tuition payment. She said there has been no indication at this point that districts would not do that. She said letters will be sent to parents of students who transferred this year under a Missouri law requiring unaccredited districts pay for students who want to attend other schools.

Decisions on student transfers came as Missouri education officials were meeting to determine details for managing the Normandy school system. The State Board of Education decided last month to dissolve the Normandy School District at the end of June and replace it with the Normandy Schools Collaborative. The collaborative will be led by a Joint Executive Governing Board chosen by state education officials. Normandy filed a lawsuit in May and has sought a temporary restraining order that includes an attempt to stop the dissolution of the district.

Normandy of StL Sues State in Student Transfer Dispute
May 22, 2014

Post Dispatch:
The Normandy School District sued the Missouri Board of Education and 20 area school districts Wednesday, challenging the validity of a school transfer law that has left the Normandy district nearly insolvent.
The petition, filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court, challenges the federal and state constitutionality of the law that has forced the unaccredited Normandy district to pay transportation and tuition expenses for about 1,000 children who left for higher-performing schools this year.

The state did not provide funding for the transportation costs, the lawsuit says, and therefore the transfer law is an unfunded mandate in violation of Missouri’s Hancock Amendment. The Normandy school system has spent about $8 million so far this year on transfer tuition and transportation expenses, an outflow for which officials hadn’t budgeted.

“To sit idly by while watching district resources dissipate to the detriment of 3,000-plus remaining students while crippling efforts to regain accreditation — all due to a misguided statute that ostensibly is for the betterment of education — is not an option,” said William Humphrey, president of the Normandy School Board.

The suit comes one day after the Missouri Board of Education voted to lapse the district and reopen it July 1 under a different name and governance structure. The decision means all contracts and policies will be void, and an appointed board will replace the elected one. The decision was prompted by the district’s poor academic performance and not its financial situation, Margie Vandeven, deputy commissioner of education, said today.

But the decision does nothing to address the district’s financial situation. The new political entity — the Normandy Schools Collaborative — will receive local and state funding under the same structure as the current school district. And so far, state lawmakers have not done enough in the eyes of Normandy school officials to reduce the financial burden of the transfer law on their students.

DESE Makes a Move on Embattled Normandy School System
May 20, 2014

(AP) – The Missouri State Board of Education has approved replacing the unaccredited Normandy School District with a new school system to be governed by a board whose members it appoints.

State education officials voted Tuesday to dissolve the suburban St. Louis district at the end of June and terminate all contracts. The newly formed Normandy Schools Collaborative then will begin July 1 within the old district.

Many details remain unresolved, and the State Board of Education plans to discuss plans during its meeting next month.

The Normandy district lost its accreditation in early 2013. Its supporters filled a meeting room at a Columbia hotel to watch Tuesday’s meeting. The district says the crowd included students, teachers, administrators and school board members

Some Missouri Districts Battle Making Up Snow Days
March 24, 2014

Missourinet:

Missouri schools hope they’ve called off school for the last time because of snow and ice. They now have to decide how many of those days they will make up.
The state education department will learn when school districts file reports at the end of the school year how many hundreds or thousands of days classes have been cancelled because of weather. At least one district has called off 27 days of classes.
Department School Services Coordinator Roger Dorson says state law has some makeup requirements. Districts required to have six snow makeup days built into their calendar. If they have more than six snow days, they have to make up half of the next eight days.
Local school boards can decide if any days more than ten will be made up either with weekend classes or extending the school year schedule.
More:http://www.missourinet.com/2014/03/24/making-up-snow-days-audio/

Missouri BOE Approves UMKC’s End of Sponsorship at Troubled KC Charter School
February 11, 2014

The Missouri Board of Education has approved UMKC’s request to drop its sponsorship of the troubled Hope Academy charter school.
UMKC told Hope Academy in December it wanted to end it’s association.
A statement by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education( DESE) quotes a top state education official.
“We share UMKC’s concerns about persistently low MAP scores from Hope Academy,” said Margie Vandeven, Deputy Commissioner of Learning Services.
DESE has labeled Hope Academy as a problem school.
On recent state tests, 90% of the Academy’s students were not scoring in the proficient range in math.
4 out of 5 students were not proficient in English language skills.
DESE discovered other irregularities at Hope Academy during a surprise inspection last fall.
The school is now being audited by the State Auditor’s Office.