ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – Normandy school parents applaud the board’s decision Thursday night to go delinquent on $1.3 million worth of tuition payments to 14 other districts that have taken in transfers students.
Board President William Humphrey told KMOX the surprise 3-2 vote not to pay their tuition bills is more a statement than anything else. He also believes Francis-Howell and other districts will still get paid.
“We have been placed on a playing-field that is not level and is not fair,” he said.
“For that reason I could not continue to support that vote knowing that it is going to make it extremely difficult for us to deliver the free public access to education,” he added.
A Normandy district spokesperson told KMOX in the middle of September the district was facing a pending financial crisis. Normandy Assistant Superintendent Mick Willis said the district had about $9.5 million in its rainy-day-fund, but if things continued to go the way they were going, tuition payments would top $12 million by the end of this school year.
Missouri State Board of Education officials have proposed an additional $6.8 million to help the unaccredited district with its bills. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and the Missouri Legislature still need to approve the education budget.
“When a school district runs out of money, they dissolve and students are actually reassigned to other districts,” Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Communications Director Sarah Potter said. “So that’s what we would be looking at if we did not receive additional funding for Normandy.”
Also last night the Normandy School Board approved a plan to avoid bankrupting the district. Board members decided to close Bel-Nor Elementary School and layoff 103 employees, mostly teachers. The cuts and the school closing are scheduled to take effect Dec. 20th.
“The first thing that we’re concerned about is making certain that the Normandy School District has a fair chance to operate, to achieve accreditation,” Humphrey said.
Consultants hired to create a plan to help unaccredited schools are slated to submit that plan by January of 2014.