Eleven Missouri school districts–most of them in outstate Missouri–face the possibility that they could be forced to pay for transportation of students to other districts. Some school leaders are suggesting a better way.
Transporting students from the unaccredited Normandy School District to other St. Louis-area districts, at great expense to Normandy, has focused attention on the issue. Normandy is one of three unaccredited districts. But eleven more are provisionally accredited, putting their certification in jeopardy.
The three districts that are unaccredited are Kansas City, Normandy, and Riverview Gardens. The eleven listed on the education department’s list of provisionally accredited districts are Calhoun, Caruthersville, Gilliam, Gorin, Hayti, Hickman Mills, Jennings, Malta Bend, Spickard, St. Louis, and Swedeborg.
Executive Director Roger Kurtz of the Missouri Association of School Administrators says superintendents from twenty districts are proposing a system of early intervention to bring failing schools within districts up to snuff before the entire district loses accreditation. He says the superintendents believe transferring students to accredited districts will not be in the best interests of all students and will not lead to the improvement of the unaccredited districts. He says forcing the unaccredited district to pay the costs of the transportation is not fiscally or academically sustainable.
State Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro says she’s pleased to see that group and others looking for better approaches but has offered no other reaction to the superintendents’ suggestions.