As promised, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed on Tuesday the wide-ranging school transfer bill passed by lawmakers this year, saying it violates basic principles of public education and does nothing to help students trapped in unaccredited schools.
At the offices of Education Plus in west St. Louis County, the governor listed three main reasons for his action.
Anxiety crept through SheRon Chaney when she heard that the Francis Howell School District would no longer accept about 350 transfer students from Normandy who were signed up to continue in the program.
“Last year we were hopeful, this year we’re fearful,” she said.
Chaney transferred her middle school aged daughter BrenNae to Maplewood Richmond Heights last year. And even though Francis Howell’s decision -- made during a closed session of its school board -- doesn’t affect her directly, it has Chaney and hundreds of other parents holding their breath.
After telegraphing his intention for a week, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday announced that he is indeed going to veto the student-transfer bill because of its provisions allowing public money to be used for private schools.
He also faults the bill because it does not require unaccredited sending districts to pay any transportation costs for students transferring to accredited districts, as the schools now are required to do.
The Missouri Senate has passed the final version of legislation designed to ease the burden of the state's school transfer law. It includes a provision that would end free transportation for transfer students -- a provision that would make it harder for students from failing schools to actually attend other districts.
Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 3:08 pm
JEFFERSON CITY -- From the start of Monday’s six-hour session considering a variety of ways to help struggling schools, the head of the Missouri board of education emphasized that the state is concerned about long-range, broad-based policy, not the operations of individual districts.
But as board members heard a number of presentations on suggested reforms, the talk returned time and again to the current transfers out of unaccredited school districts and the impact on the students who live there.
Missouri lawmakers are facing pressure to address a student transfer law and unaccredited school districts.
The law requires school districts without state accreditation to cover the costs for students who want to attend an accredited district within the same county or a bordering one. It makes no exceptions for those without room for new students.
Missouri now has three unaccredited districts. About 2,000 students have transferred from two districts in St. Louis County and transfers could start soon in Kansas City.
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.
Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 3:19 pm
North St. Louis County's Normandy School District pointed to a variety of things to entice parents to keep their kids in the district: partnerships and collaboration with nearby universities, new technology, and more staff training.
But for the parents of 1,151 Normandy kids, it just wasn’t enough. If you compare it to last year’s enrollment, that means 28 percent will be fleeing the failing school district.
State education officials could step in quicker to assist failing Missouri school districts under legislation backed in the House.
Districts that lose state accreditation currently are given two years to improve before the state officials can intervene. The new legislation removes the waiting period.
When the state Board of Education revokes a district's accreditation, it then would decide whether to set conditions for the local school board to remain in place or determine when an alternative governing system for those schools would take effect.