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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Fewer students in two unaccredited suburban St. Louis school districts are transferring to better-performing districts for the 2014-15 school year.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a combined 2,200 students transferred for the current school year from the Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts. The transfers came quickly after the Missouri Supreme Court ruled last summer that students from unaccredited districts can transfer at their home district's expense.
 
The deadline for parents to apply to transfer for the next school year was Monday. Normandy had 123 applications, and Riverview Gardens has had 73, though Riverview Gardens extended its deadline until Friday.
 
The amount of room available for new students to transfer has not been determined. Receiving districts are not planning to release the number of vacancies until June.
Published in Local News

Families with students looking to move out of the Normandy and Riverview Garden Districts have to have their applications filed by 4PM, Monday.

 

Students who transferred this year also have to inform their new district that they will be returning next year. Students whose applications are approved will learn which school they will attend next year, sometime this summer.

Published in Local News
   A new requirement for students who want to transfer out of an unaccredited school district could catch families off guard.  The Riverview Gardens School District is now requiring families to attend an in-person interview by February 3rd if their student wants transfer away.  They must also fill out an "Intent to Return" form.
   Those who miss the interview deadline or fail to get the forms in won't be allowed to transfer -- even if they participated in the transfer program this year.  
   That's why the Children's Education Alliance of Missouri (CEAM) is holding two meetings this month to help inform parents of the new requirements.
   "Unfortunately, this new requirement will serve as a barrier for students and parents who wish to transfer," said Kate Casas, state director, CEAM.  "A lot of parents aren't aware of this new step and will be in danger of missing this critical deadline, which will mean that their child won't be able to exercise their right to transfer, as guaranteed under the Outstanding Schools Act." 
   Town Hall meetings will be held January 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lewis and Clark Library and January 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Indian Trails Library. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at 314-561-8646.
 
Published in Local News
   Missouri education officials are considering a plan that would eliminate the school transfer program by dissolving unaccredited districts like Normandy and Riverview Gardens.  The CEE-Trust proposal presented Monday, would hand control of individual schools to non-profit groups accountable to a state-run office. 
   State Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro told Fox 2 News that the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education sought the proposal because the current transfer system isn't sustainable. "Ultimately, any district that ends up sending students to another, with the current tuition calculation, will end up going bankrupt," she said.  Officials with the unaccredited Normandy School District have said that without a cash infusion from the state, they will run out of money this spring. 
   Under the CEE-Trust plan, decisions about curriculum, staffing and budgets would be made at each school.  The state-run Office of Community Schools would handle systemic issues like busing and building maintenance.  
   Mark Jones of the Missouri NEA, a state teacher's union, expressed skepticism.  Jones told Fox 2 News that the proposal sounds like a clever marketing scheme. "This just simply looks like a rebranding of charter schools that have demonstrated a lack of accountability and a lack of oversight," Jones said.
   The proposal is one of several being considered by the state.  The board will gather public input in St. Louis on February 4, then try to make a decision at its meeting, February 18.
 
 
 
 
Published in Local News

   The Riverview Gardens School District will offset some of the $15 million they're spending on the school transfer program with a series of budget cuts, but no layoffs so far.  

   District officials outlined the cuts Tuesday.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the district will save as much as $3 million by leaving teacher vacancies unfilled, slashing the professional development budget, modifying the busing contract and through other savings in technology and facilities costs.  

   Even with the budget cuts, the district will be more than $7 million in the red if transfer costs remain the same in the 2014-15 school year.

   Teachers in the Normandy District have been told they won't avoid layoffs as that district deals with transfer costs.   On Thursday, Superintendent Ty McNichols will present a staff reduction plan that could include a school closing.  Normandy officials say they will run $6.8 million short before the end of this school year.

   After the state Supreme Court upheld Missouri’s school transfer law, more than 2,000 students opted to transfer out of the unaccredited districts and attend better performing schools.  Under the law, their home districts must cover costs.

Published in Local News

   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.

Published in Local News

   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.

Published in Local News
Monday, 23 September 2013 11:05

Education a priority for Missouri lawmakers

The many issues surrounding education in Missouri has lawmakers taking a closer look at student transfers, teacher evaluations and school safety. An interim House committee on education is holding hearings on those and other topics this week in several communities.  Meetings today in St. Charles and St. Louis will focus on student transfers out of unaccredited districts. This fall, students from the Riverview Gardens and Normandy districts became the first in Missouri to transfer to neighboring districts. Meanwhile, the Joint Committee on Education has scheduled a hearing October 1 in Jefferson City focused solely on student transfers.

   

 
Published in Local News

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