WELLSTON, MO (KTVI)- Missouri education leaders moved to re-define public education within the footprint of the Normandy School District Monday. Members of the state Board of Education voted to create a state supervised school district to replace the existing Normandy district on July first. It will be called the Normandy Schools Collaborative.
The decision effectively wipes the slate clean for the public schools that serve multiple municipalities in the northeastern central portion of St. Louis County.
Poor performance had pushed the school district into the ‘unaccredited’ category. That entitled students in Normandy to transfer to accredited schools in St .Louis County or adjoining counties with Normandy footing their tuition bills plus transportation costs to one designated district. Normandy spent more than ten million dollars during the 2013-14 school year on tuition and transportation for nearly one thousand students.
State Board president Peter Herschend said failure by the state board to take action would put an end to the Normandy district. ‘The district will cease to function because it will have zero dollars in its bank account,’ he explained.
By recreating the school district, the state is able to shed the unaccredited status, void existing contracts for services and personnel and set a new, reduced tuition payment of $7236 a year for school districts accepting Normandy transfer students.
State School Board members also voted to remove some 130 students from the transfer program because they had not attended a Normandy public school for at least one semester during the 2012-13 school year. Those youngsters will return to Normandy public schools or their parents will have to send them to a parochial or private school.
Board members believe their actions will help Normandy operate in the black and do an effective job.
Three persons were appointed to the new district`s Joint Executive Governing Board Monday. Two to four more board members will be named in the next few weeks. Normandy resident Reginald Dickson, the former CEO of Inroads, an inner city college mentoring program and a board member of the charity Beyond Housing; Normandy resident Dr. Charles Pearson, a former administrator for the Clayton and the Maplewood-Richmond Heights school districts; and Richard Ryffel, past president of Beyond Housing and a private banker with J. P. Morgan will serve on the newly formed board.
After June 30th the elected Normandy School Board will no longer run the district. However, elected school board members are seeking a temporary restraining order to stop the Missouri State Board of Education and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) from causing the original Normandy District to ‘lapse’ or close its doors.
The request for a TRO will be heard in St. Louis County Circuit Court Friday morning.
DESE staff presented a comprehensive outline for giving the schools a ‘fresh start’ in areas of classroom teaching and administration. Extensive staff development would be implemented along with a 183 day school year for the 2014-15 year. A year round school schedule is being considered for the 2015-16 school year to help students catch up academically.