unaccredited schools

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has passed the so-called student transfer fix, sending it to Gov. Jay Nixon one day before the end of the 2014 legislative session.

(Updated at 6:12 p.m.)

House and Senate negotiators have wrapped up work on a final version of a bill to ease the burden of Missouri’s student transfer law.

Senate Bill 493 would allow for individual school buildings to be accredited, instead of the school district as a whole, and it would create regional authorities to oversee transfers.

school buses
KBIA

A coalition of education organizations representing teachers, administrators and school board members objects to student transfer legislation because it could lead to students attending private schools at taxpayers' expense.

While other school districts are hiring new teachers and preparing for next fall, the uncertainty over the future of the Normandy district in St. Louis County has left the superintendent unsure how to move forward.

chris nicastro
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

The Missouri State Board of Education has voted to impose financial oversight on a St. Louis County school district facing bankruptcy.

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.

Five identical bills that would each revamp Missouri's student transfer law were examined Wednesday by a State Senate committee.

Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

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.

John Murden / Flickr

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.

The home districts must cover the tuition costs, and must pay for transportation to at least one school district.