ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Monday marks the first day of class for Normandy students who did not transfer from their unaccredited school district this year.
While much of the summer was spent sorting out where students in the north St. Louis County school districts of Riverview Gardens and Normandy would go, two St. Louis state lawmakers are optimistic about the Missouri Legislature’s ability to find an answer to the larger issue of school accreditation.
State Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis, says he feels good about the eventual outcome because stakeholders, including parents and children, will have input.
“By the end of next year’s legislative term, we’ll have a fix,” he says. “Presently, folks in the education community, folks from the transfer community, folks from the unaccredited districts, folks from the receiving districts are all meeting to try to hammer out some kind of procedure.”
State Sen. Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis, says education reform remains tied up in the legislature’s split between rural and urban districts.
“I think currently it is a split like that. I think it can be overcome because there are going to be some districts that are unaccredited in the near future, rural districts,” he said. “Everybody’s going to have to get involved in this discussion.”
Colona says Democrats in the state have been trying to pass a fix to the transfer issue for the past two years.
“The majority party has always put the brakes on it,” he says. “It has not been a priority but, you know, now that the transfers begin and it’s affecting not just our urban but suburban districts as well… the heat is on.”
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said last month that he doesn’t believe the school transfer issue warrants a special legislative session. Colona agrees.
“A quick fix, calling a special session, isn’t going to take care of the problem,” he added. “We have had a debating society on this issue in the past six years I’ve been there and I think that would happen if we did call a special session.”