KC School Asking Missouri Board to Restore Provisional Accreditation Now
July 22, 2014

KC Star:
Kansas City Public Schools wants the state of Missouri to grant the district provisional accreditation now — on a temporary basis — rather than wait on a process for reaccreditation that will probably play out this fall.

The Missouri State Board of Education has added the district’s request to its agenda for its meeting Tuesday in Jefferson City.

Superintendent Steve Green said the district is making its request now because as many as 18 students are lining up to transfer out of the unaccredited district under a state law that allows students to transfer to nearby accredited districts with tuition paid by the unaccredited district.

Under the law, those students probably would have to return after one year because Kansas City continues to be confident it will earn provisional accreditation from the state board this fall and end the district’s exposure to the transfer law.

“The timing on how this unfolds is our concern,” Green said.

Green said he thinks there is plenty of data in the state’s hands now that shows that Kansas City’s next state report card will score at least in the provisional range for the second year in a row and probably even in the fully accredited range, he said.

But those scores, compiled in annual performance reports, won’t be made public until Aug. 29, three weeks into the new school year.

Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro has said that she would recommend the Kansas City district for provisional status if it were to repeat last year’s performance, but such a recommendation probably would not be presented to the state board until October.

“We want to avoid having families go and then having to come back,” Green said.

A spokeswoman for the state said the board’s discussion of Kansas City’s request probably will occur in closed session because Kansas City has a pending lawsuit that seeks provisional status.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article778152.html#storylink=cpy

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.

BREAKING: Nixon to Veto Student Transfer Bill
May 23, 2014

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says he’ll veto the student transfer bill passed by the legislature.
Nixon says the element of the bill, permitting student SRO transfer to private schools and have public school money pay for it is not appropriate.
Dealing with the student transfer issue, which relates to failing and unaccredited districts in Kansas City and two small districts in St. Louis, was a major issue in the Capitol this year.
Nixon said he the bill, “would create even more problems by allowing public funds to be used for private schools and pulling the rug out from under students who have transferred.”

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.

Nixon May Call School Transfer Special Session
May 17, 2014

(AP) — Missouri’s Legislature failed to advance highly publicized legislation that sought to nullify some federal gun laws as its session concluded Friday, but it did send the governor a measure that could allow specially trained teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom.

Despite being a top priority that majority GOP leaders pledged would be one of the first bills passed this year, a dispute among Republicans ultimately derailed the attempt to void any federal law that “infringed on people’s right to keep and bear arms.”

Supporters were divided until the closing hours of session over how aggressive the measure should be in punishing federal agents who enforced unspecified gun laws. House sponsor Rep. Doug Funderburk, R-St. Peters, said it was difficult to come to a compromise that protected gun rights while easing the concerns of law enforcement groups.

“The problem is how to deal with a very fine line of language that isn’t overprotection but still has elements to keep our community safe,” he said.

The House adopted the final compromise and sent it to the Senate with less than 30 minutes remaining in the session. Democratic senators were able to stall for a vote for the remaining time.