Reimagining Education

State Board of Education Pulls the Rug on Normandy Parents

June 16, 2014
Media Alert: State Board of Education pulls the rug on Normandy families
Contact: Lorna Kurdi at 314-561-8645 or lorna@ceamteam.org

  June 16, 2014, Jefferson City – The Missouri State Board of Education’s agenda today included action items relative to the Normandy School District. The main action? Pull the rug out from under families trying to put their children in higher performing schools. And families left in Normandy? The State Board just locked the door and lost the key.

The current Normandy School District will be dissolved as of June 30th and a new entity called the Normandy Schools Collaborative will take its place beginning July 1st. The state board agreed that the new entity would not maintain the old designation of “unaccredited” currently held by the Normandy School District.

The implication of this decision is far-reaching and disastrous for families who wish to transfer their children to a neighboring, accredited district as provided for in the Outstanding Schools Act of 1993, section 167.131. Without the designation of “unaccredited” the Normandy Schools Collaborative will no longer fit the definition laid out in 167.131. As such, Normandy students and families will no longer have a choice.

In describing what was about to transpire State Board member Mike Jones soberly remarked that the decisions being made were going to have some casualties. Another member, referring to the Normandy School District budget, said they need to stop the bleeding. For Normandy families, the choice of words is personal.

Students who transferred last year have an uncertain future. The board considered several options and chose one that allows the 769 Normandy students who transferred after having previously attended the Normandy School District to continue, but Normandy will only pay a set tuition of $7,200/pupil – about $5,000 less than the average tuition charged in the past year. Now the 20 receiving districts’ school boards will have to decide if they will accept the new tuition. Transportation to Francis Howell remains for Normandy students.

Missing from the now-sanctioned transfer group are the 131 students who reside in the Normandy School District, but never attended it. The transfer law allowed any student residing in the district to transfer. The state board said NO to those families.

With a set number of 769, it seems that the state board is saying no even to families who followed DESE protocol and submitted paperwork prior to the February 2014 deadline for 2014-15 school year. They, too, heard NO from the state school board and will be forced to stay put in the Normandy Schools Collaborative.

Charter schools are off the table in Normandy as well. The no-status Normandy Schools Collaborative also fails to meet the requirements of Missouri’s charter school law, which only allows charter schools to operate in districts with an accreditation status.

Because receiving school districts must now approve accepting the newly mandated $7,200 tuition, Normandy transfer parents are encouraged to contact their new district and voice their hope that the receiving district will accept the new state mandated tuition.

Parents whose children are in the transfer program, but did not attend Normandy School District in the 2012-13 school year should contact CEAM immediately. Parents who met the February deadline to transfer for the 2014-15 school year should contact CEAM as well at 314-561-8645.

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