Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Normandy Schools Settle on Transfer Plan

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Normandy Schools Settle on Transfer Plan

Article excerpt

The Normandy School District has chosen to pay for transportation to an unnamed district in St. Charles County for any of its students who want to transfer to higher performing schools there.

Tyrone McNichols, who becomes Normandy superintendent on Monday, said administrators and school board members reached the decision to skip over districts in St. Louis County only after comparing data on student achievement, demographics and capacity, as well as interstate access and per-pupil spending among school districts throughout the region.

The decision could be a determining factor in where many Normandy students, trying to take advantage of a recent state Supreme Court ruling, end up.

Students who transfer to other districts would have to get there on their own.

"We felt that if the state is going to demand us to pay costs of tuition and transportation, we ought to send transportation to a high-quality district," McNichols said Friday, after a meeting of superintendents and district attorneys gathered at Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis.

But McNichols stopped short of naming the St. Charles County district. He hadn't yet informed its superintendent. That school district would not need to approve Normandy's decision.

With less than two months before the start of school, attorneys and leaders of 48 area school districts that could be affected by the state's school transfer statute are working through details related to things such as enrollment, tuition and how much space is available in classrooms.

They are figuring out how best to comply with a high court decision that says children living in unaccredited school districts, such as Normandy and Riverview Gardens, may transfer to higher performing schools in the same or adjoining counties. The unaccredited school systems and not families must foot tuition bills. The failing districts also must pay for transportation to at least one school district.

On Monday, the Special Administrative Board of Riverview Gardens will meet to discuss which school district it will designate for transportation.

"This has been high priority for the district," spokeswoman Melanie Powell-Robinson said.

On Friday, school district representatives across the region agreed on a centralized enrollment process that will largely be handled by Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis.

Students from Normandy or Riverview Gardens who want to transfer must first notify their home districts. Students will not be enrolled in their selected districts until Aug. 5, after Cooperating School Districts has determined how much room each district has. (Hazelwood and Ferguson-Florissant, however, have said they will begin enrolling transfer students sooner.)

If there is more demand than seats available in any one district, there will be a lottery, said Don Senti, executive director of Cooperating School Districts. …

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