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   A school bus driver in St. Charles County caught texting while driving is now out of work.  

   Officials with the Francis Howell School District tell the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that a middle-school student had taken a video of the driver texting with kids on board Thursday.  Parents contacted the district about the incident.  

   Francis Howell spokeswoman Jennifer Henry tells the paper that the company the driver worked for fired the driver as a result of the incident.  

   The driver isn't likely to face a citation since Missouri law only bars texting while driving for drivers age 21 and under.

Published in Local News

   Officials in the Francis Howell school district say a computer error led to a strange email blast over the weekend.  Parents of current and former students received emails saying their children were failing classes -- hundreds of them.  

   School district spokesperson Neosha Hayes says the issue has been identified and the flow of emails stopped. Hayes also says student information wasn't compromised because only authorized addresses received the emails.

Published in Local News

   The first tuition bill is in for Normandy students who transferred to Francis Howell.  

   Four hundred forty-nine transfer students began classes in Francis Howell schools on August 8th.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the total due now is just over $424,000.  Francis Howell Chief Financial Officer Kevin Supple told the paper the bill was sent Tuesday via email.  

   Normandy officials say the invoice must be processed and approved by the school board, which could take a month or more.  

   Missouri education officials have suggested unaccredited districts pay tuition bills within 10 days.  State officials have also said they will withhold state aid distributions if an unaccredited district falls two months behind in paying transfer tuition.

Published in Local News

A lockdown of schools in St. Charles County has been lifted.

Police say a man confronted an employee at Francis Howell High School and threatened to kill himself. A school resource officer removed the man from the building. That is when officers say the man tried to force his way into Francis Howell Middle School. Police were called and the men led officers on brief chase.

The suspect was arrested in the Chesterfield area. Police say no students were in danger and lockdown was soon lifted. A total of four schools were placed on lockdown.

Published in Local News

   The State of Missouri may have to pay part of the costs for the school transfer program.  The unaccredited Normandy School District will spend between 15 and 18 million dollars to send hundreds of students to Francis Howell and other, better performing districts.  Missouri Education Commissioner Dr. Chris Nicastro told Fox 2 News that at that rate, Normandy will likely run out of money before the end of the school year.

"If Normandy cannot meet their obligations, then there's going to have to be some money come from somewhere," Nicastro said.  "The legislature's the only body I know of that can appropriate those funds." 

   Dr. Nicastro says the costs could go up next year.  That's when new education standards kick in across the state, which she believes will cause more districts to become unaccredited.  

 

Published in Local News

   ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - A wave of school transfers spurred by a recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling is opening old wounds and reviving difficult conversations in St. Louis about race, class and equal access to public education.

   Nearly 2,600 students from the unaccredited Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts are leaving for better-performing schools in other districts, with the two troubled districts required to pay an estimated $30 million to accommodate the moves. School leaders say it's only a matter of time before they go bankrupt.

   Parents, politicians and community leaders in some outlying districts say they worry the newcomers will bring increased delinquency, larger class sizes and lower test scores. Much of the outrage was on display last month at public school board meeting of the Francis Howell district, which begins classes on Thursday.

 
Published in Local News

Student leaders and over a hundred mentors spent time transitioning Normandy students to the Francis Howell School District.

475 Normandy students made the leap to the accredited district. The number breaks down to 168 elementary school students, 164, middle school students, and 143 high schoolers. The kids spent the day getting tours of the schools, participating in team-building activities, and locating their lockers.  

The first day of school is Thursday.

Published in Local News

   As the start of the new school year fast approaches, more than 300 students who want to transfer out of the troubled Riverview Gardens and Normandy school districts still don't know where they'll attend classes.  That's because of the limited availability of open seats in some districts they've applied to attend.  

   Many students didn't get into one of their first three choices of districts, or didn't list more than one choice.  So officials with the Cooperating School Districts have extended the application deadline for the still unassigned transfer students.  

   Families can submit a new list of choices.  Those who don't re-apply on the Cooperating School Districts website by noon Monday will not be able to transfer out of the unaccredited districts.

   All of the Normandy students transferring to Francis Howell Districts did get their requests filled.  About 2,400 Riverview Garden students have also received transfer assignments. 

Published in Local News

   The Francis Howell school board will meet Thursday night to hammer out the nuts and bolts of accepting transfer students from the failing Normandy school district.  The board will vote on issues including class size limits, tuition and a payment schedule.  

   District officials want average class sizes to remain at or below desirable levels outlined by the state department of education.  At that level, the district would have room for about 600 transfer students.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that as of Wednesday, 196 students had applied to transfer into the district.  

   The district is also expected to approve a tuition rate of $11,034 per student, enough to allow them to hire a part time administrator to answer parents' questions, and assist in placing transfer students from Normandy.

   Normandy students have until August 1 to file transfer applications.  Class begins in Francis Howell schools on August 8. 

Published in Local News

   Many parents in the Francis Howell School District say they're concerned about the impact of students from the unaccredited Normandy District transferring to their schools.  Several sounded off at a town hall meeting Thursday night at Howell Central High School in Cottleville.  

   Some expresses concerns about resources being channeled to transferring students who are academically behind.  Other's were concerned that about violence that may come to Francis Howell from Normandy, a district that has struggled with violence in its schools.  

   Francis Howell superintendent Dr. Pam Sloan spoke openly about her opposition to the transfers, saying that busing kids to a new district isn't the way to fix a failing one.  

   But not everyone in the district is so concerned.  Francis Howell senior class president Eric Lee cautioned the crowd not to make assumptions about the students transferring in from Normandy.  Lee said it's not right to assume the kids who choose to transfer are going to cause problems.

   District officials won't know until August 2nd how many Normandy students plan to transfer.

Published in Local News
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