State Education Officials Weigh Options For Normandy

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) – Missouri education officials are intensifying their work with the Normandy School District now that a new law allows state officials to intervene sooner.

Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro says there are pressing concerns in Normandy given the money being spent on tuition and transportation for the transfer students.

“Since the tuition program started, we need to be intimately involved in helping them forecast their budget and to determine what the impact of the tuition program will be on their budget,” she says.

A 1993 law requires unaccredited school districts to pay for students to attend other schools in neighboring school districts. If the unaccredited districts’ finances don’t stay afloat, Nicastro says there are more pressing questions.

“Who’s going to meet those tuition obligations? Who’s going to pay transportation? Perhaps more importantly, who’s going to educate the 75 percent of the children who remain?”

Nicastro says state education officials don’t yet know if the Normandy School District will survive an exodus of transfer students.

“We don’t know that. Again, it’s not about the district, the district is simply an artificial government entity. Certainly it’s an organizational model that we’re used to but it may not be the only model that we need to consider,” she says.

Nicastro says charter schools, magnet schools, and so-called community schools, which include services for the entire family, are all options on the table.

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