Lackluster Turnout at Missouri Education Dept. Meeting in Normandy
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) - Significantly less parents and teachers filled a gym at Normandy High Wednesday night where the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education held a second meeting to discuss issues with failing school districts, like Normandy.
Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro and other high-ranking education officials listened as students, teachers, parents and civic leaders expressed how student transfers have affected their district.
Nicastro told KMOX she is “open to any and every idea,” but admits that she doesn’t know exactly what the state will do to help the failing district.
Ideas brought up at the meeting will be considered by education officials as they develop a long-range plan to address the state’s most troubled districts. Nicastro is expected to present a draft of that plan to Missouri Board of Education in January.
Many parents and teachers Wednesday asked the state for more money. But NiCastro says her hands are tied. The legislature handles the budget, her department passes out money once its been appropriated.
Under current law, students are allowed to transfer out of an unaccredited school districts at the expense of the home districts. That is burdening unaccredited districts like Riverview Gardens, and especially the Normandy School District who has threatened insolvency by spring if things don’t change.
The Normandy School district didn’t make an official presentation Wednesday, but spokeswoman Daphne Dorsey addressed layoff concerns, saying there won’t be any more staff cuts.
“We are having students return, as those students return there is the possibility that maybe down the road we may be able to call some staff back,” she said.
Dorsey could not give an exact number of how many transfer students have returned and from which district.