Reimagining Education

Judge Burton Rules for Normandy Families – CEAM Statement

PRESS STATEMENT                                          

For Immediate Release

Thurs., Feb. 12, 2015

JUDGE BURTON RULING SUPPORTS TRANSFER OPTIONS FOR NORMANDY FAMILIES

Yesterday, St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge Michael Burton issued a permanent injunction on all three grounds requested by Plaintiffs in the Massey v. Normandy case.

In his strongly worded, 37-page ruling (read it below), Judge Burton admonished the Missouri State Board of Education for essentially attempting an end-run around the law, noting that “[no] document submitted into evidence by the Defendants states that the Normandy Schools Collaborative (NSC) is in fact ‘accredited’…The Board figured it could either illogically call a horribly failing school district ‘accredited’ or call the NSC something else and boldly announce that the transfer statue would not be applicable. The Board chose the latter approach.”

Judge Burton ruled that if the NSC is not “accredited,” which it is not, then the transfer statute continues to apply, and not just for the 75 plaintiff families in this case but for all Normandy students who wish to transfer to an accredited school.

Further, Judge Burton found that the State Board did not have the authority to give the NSC “new accreditation as a state oversight district.” While the waiver statute, 162.210, grants the State Board authority to waive its rules, it does not and cannot grant the State Board the authority to waive statutes. Ultimately, Judge Burton found the State Board to be in violation of rule-making procedures in creating a new accreditation classification and applying it to the NSC.

The tragedy here is that only 110 of the original 500 Normandy students who exercised their rights to transfer to Francis Howell were able to continue their educations at Francis Howell this year, and that was only accomplished by filing temporary restraining orders (TROs) on a case-by-case basis. By obstructing these students’ rights, the State Board not only prevented most of them from receiving the quality education they deserve this school year, but as the registration deadline to transfer next year has already passed, these students have been robbed of the opportunity to exercise their rights next year as well.

It is our hope and good faith expectation that the State Board will now take steps to undo at least some of the harm they have caused by doing the right thing and extending the transfer registration deadline.

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READ THE FULL RULING HERE:

2014.02.11 Findings of Fact, Conclusion of Law, Final Order and Judgment 14SL-CC02359

 

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