KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A group of Missouri school superintendents has developed an alternative to a state law allowing students to transfer from unaccredited to accredited districts.
The Kansas City Star reports that under the plan, students in struggling districts could transfer to better-performing schools in their home districts. And after five years of failure, districts could be dissolved and distributed to accredited districts.
Twenty leaders from around Missouri drafted the school-improvement plan and provided it to The Star on Monday. The draft says the existing transfer law "is not in the best interest of all students and will not lead to improvement of unaccredited districts."
A spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro hasn't yet had a chance to review the proposal.
Normandy Schools Superintendent Ty McNichols will outline proposed budget cuts at Thursday night's school board meeting. But Wednesday, district officials briefed employees about the plan as the struggling district tries to cover transfer costs for hundreds of students.
Teachers learned yesterday that 103 of the district's 650 employees will lose their jobs by the end of December. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that layoff notices will go out next month.
District officials say class sizes could go as high as 29 students and Bel-Nor Elementary School is expected to close.
The district is projecting a $6.8 million shortfall this school year because of the added cost of the state mandated school transfer program.
Most of the students who were given the chance to transfer out of the struggling Normandy and Riverview Gardens school districts are still attending their new schools.
Nearly 2300 transfer students were attending classes in 24 districts across the St. Louis metro area, according to numbers compiled by Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis last month.
About 500 students who could have transferred, opted to stay in their home districts. Don Senti, executive director of Cooperating School Districts told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that transportation is a problem. Senti says it's too difficult for some students to get to school in districts where transportation isn't provided.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri education officials say it's in the best interest of students transferring from unaccredited to accredited school districts to do so at the beginning of the school year.
But the Missouri Department of Education said in its latest guidance to schools that if there are extenuating circumstances, receiving districts should consider transfers at the semester based on available room.
Two unaccredited St. Louis County districts are now subject to the transfer law. Figures reported at the start of the school year indicate 1,451 transferred from Riverview Gardens and 1,189 students left Normandy.
So far, no transfers are happening in Kansas City because of a pending court case. After faring well on a school performance report, the Kansas City district is seeking to regain accreditation before it's subject to the law.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Supreme Court again is considering a court challenge to a law permitting students to transfer from unaccredited school districts to other districts nearby.
The court upheld the law earlier in a case from the St. Louis area. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court's focus turned to Kansas City, which has been unaccredited since 2012.
Taxpayers from five surrounding districts filed suit and contend the transfer law is an unfunded mandate violating the Missouri Constitution.
A Jackson County judge ruled in favor of the Independence, Lee's Summit and North Kansas City plaintiffs but rejected the argument for Blue Springs and Raytown. The state and some plaintiffs appealed.
Transfers from Kansas City schools have been on hold, but student transfers have caused acrimony in the St. Louis area.
There are a lot of problems with Missouri's school transfer law, but no easy solutions. That's what state lawmakers heard from St. Louis area school administrators and state educators during five hours of hearings Tuesday.
The legislators are considering changes to the current law that allows students in unaccredited districts to transfer to better schools at the expense of their home district. Issues of cost were a repeated theme yesterday.
Three districts in the state are currently unaccredited: Normandy, Riverview Gardens and Kansas City. But with 11 other districts only having provisional accreditation and new state education standards, there is concern that the transfer situation could be much more widespread in the next few years.
COTTLEVILLE, Mo. (AP) - A panel of Missouri lawmakers came to suburban St. Louis on Monday for some firsthand testimony about the challenges of the state's school transfer rules.
Several area superintendents asked the interim House Committee on Education to seek a long-term fix to what they called a short-term solution to the problem of relocating students from failing school districts to better-performing ones.
The public hearing at St. Charles Community College came just weeks after hundreds of students from the unaccredited Normandy and Riverview Gardens began the fall semester riding buses to schools up to 20 to 30 miles away, with their former districts absorbing the added costs.
A second meeting is planned Monday night in St. Louis. Additional sessions are planned Tuesday and Wednesday in Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Branson and Joplin.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The state's top education official says an unaccredited St. Louis area district is expected to run out of money this year paying for students to transfer to accredited districts.
Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro said Friday that the state would be going to the Legislature for help.
The Riverview Gardens and Normandy districts are unaccredited, and a recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling allows students to transfer to accredited districts. Estimates show the transfers could cost the districts as much as $30 million.
Nicastro says the state is trying to determine when Normandy won't be able to cover its expenses. State data shows Normandy had $8.6 million in reserve and Riverview Gardens $28.6 million at the end of the 2011 through 2012 school year, the most recent year information is available.