- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis County Circuit Court judge has ruled that area school districts cannot reject transfer students from the Normandy Schools Collaborative, and that the Normandy school district must be assigned an “unaccredited” rating.

Judge Michael Burton on Wednesday issued a permanent injunction that requires the Normandy school district to pay the tuition of students who transfer under a state law that gives children in unaccredited districts access to better schools.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1ArvZg4 ) reports that the Missouri Board of Education restarted the Normandy district under a new name last summer, and gave it an accreditation rating that would circumvent the transfer law and lessen the financial impact. That move led other several school boards to send transfer students back to Normandy.

An August court ruling invalidated the board’s actions and forced several named school districts to enroll Normandy’s transfer students.

Attorney Joshua Schindler, who represents the parents of Normandy students, said “The state has to understand that it must comply with the statutes. Every single kid not only needs, but deserves, and should demand a quality education.”

Currently, about 420 students from Normandy are attending school under the transfer law, and 85 have applied to transfer in the 2015-16 school year, according to Normandy officials. A year ago, the education department took over the school district’s finances because it was close to bankruptcy.

In response to Burton’s ruling, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued a statement Thursday calling for reforms to the transfer law.

“The current transfer law is unsustainable, and it leaves unaccredited districts without the resources needed to improve their performance and educate the majority of students who remain in their home district,” the statement says. “Normandy parents and community members told the State Board that they want good schools in their neighborhoods. That can only become a reality if Normandy has the resources it needs.”

The newspaper reports that Missouri lawmakers are discussing ways to modify the law so that is not as much of a burden on struggling school districts.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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