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   Missouri education officials want to intervene sooner in school district that are struggling to maintain accreditation.  That was the jist of the plan officials with the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education outlined at a public meeting on the UMSL campus Tuesday night.  Education officials held the meeting to gather feedback on the proposed plan to improve performance in stuggling districts.  
   Most of the speakers expressed concerns that the plan doesn't do enough to help districts that are already failing and burdened with the cost of a state mandated transfer program, districts like Normandy.  
   Missouri Education Commissioner Dr. Chris Nicastro spoke with Fox 2 News.  She acknowledges that the problems in Normandy go beyond those addressed by DESE's proposal. "Unless something significant happens in the legislature to alter the course, it's pretty clear that the transfer program expenditures will cause the district to go bankrupt," Nicastro said.
   Many at last night's meeting also took the opportunity to criticize the transfer program and its affect on districts like Normandy.  That includes Maryville University Professor Emeritus Dan Rocchio. "We need to be changing the system within the district," Rocchio said, "as opposed to spending money to send kids outside the district."
   Public comments on DESE's proposed plan can be submitted online at www.dese.mo.gov/unaccredited-districts.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri state senator is formally calling on the state education commissioner to resign.
 
Democratic Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, of University City, filed a formal resolution Tuesday asking Chris Nicastro to immediately leave office.
 
Chappelle-Nadal says Nicastro has been "less than truthful" in dealing with the Legislature. She also criticized the commissioner for entering into a contract with a consulting firm to improve the failing Kansas City schools, even though the firm's bid was higher than other submissions.
 
The resolution also cites Nicastro's assistance with an initiative petition seeking to change the state's teacher tenure laws as a reason that she should leave office.
 
The resolution has not been referred to a Senate committee. Nicastro's job status can be affected only by the State Board of Education.
Published in Local News

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A group of eight Missouri lawmakers are calling upon Missouri's governor and attorney general to investigate concerns raised about Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro.

The lawmakers made the request Wednesday after The Kansas City Star reported that newly disclosed emails raised questions about the selection of CEE-Trust as a consultant. The Indianapolis-based firm's bid for developing an improvement plan for the Kansas City district and other struggling schools was nearly three times higher than the closest competitor.

The emails also highlighted some of Nicastro's behind-the-scenes work to create a special district that would operate some of the state's lowest-performing schools.

The lawmakers say the emails raise concerns about Nicastro's "fitness to lead."

Nicastro says the focus should be on ensuring that children "have the quality schools they deserve."

Published in Local News

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