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.
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.
Two troubled St. Louis-area school districts could pay a combined $23 million to cover tuition and transportation costs for students opting to attend accredited districts.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that nearly 1,700 students in the Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts have applied to transfer. That follows a recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling requiring unaccredited districts to pick up those costs for students who want to attend better schools.