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Official: Normandy district may not survive through year

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- By early next year, Missouri taxpayers may have to fork over millions of more dollars to help pay for the school transfer program.

That's the prediction from Missouri’s education commissioner in an exclusive interview.

Dr. Chris Nicastro used to be superintendent in the Hazelwood, Ritenaur and Riverview Gardens Districts. As state education commission, she's issued the guidelines that help guide the transfer process. And she says the Normandy district might not survive through the school year.

Under Missouri law, each unaccredited district has to pay for the tuition and school bus transportation of each transferring student. That's costing the Normandy district between $15 -18 million. The top state education official says while the unaccredited Riverview Gardens District will survive the year, the Normandy district probably won't. And if it doesn't, she'll go to the general assembly in Jefferson City and ask them to pay for Normandy's transfer costs.

Dr. Nicastro also says transferring students out of failing districts isn’t the option she would have chosen, but that the law is the law. She also says that when new state academic standards take effect next year, she thinks several more Missouri districts will be unaccredited and face this same transfer problem in 2015.