Missouri School Board Reverses Decision, Allows Some School Transfers

The Missouri Board of Education is allowing some Normandy transfer students to remain at their new schools, changing the rules after telling them they could not stay just a month ago

The board voted in June to no longer allow students who did not attend Normandy schools in the 2012-2013 school year to transfer to other schools, affecting 130 students, reports Dale Singer for St. Louis Public Radio.

The move resulted from a board concern that parents were moving into the Normandy school district just to take advantage of the transfer program.  However, no data to prove this theory have been found, according to Elisa Crouch for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The board reconsidered the vote this week in a closed session, unanimously choosing to remove the ruling.  The change came mainly as a result of financial considerations, but also because the board “looked back and said wait a minute, we have to be fair to all the kids.”

“We thought that the district couldn’t afford it,” president of the board Peter Herschend said. “We’ve now had another month of financial input, and nobody has money to throw around, but it looks like the district should be able to handle that financially.”

According to the Department of Education and Secondary Education, four of the districts will no longer be accepting transfer students from Normandy, dropping the total number of students served through the program from 945 last year to 328.  About 4,000 students attend school in Normandy.

The news comes as a helpful shock to parents, some of whom were scrambling to figure out what to do to keep their children in the better schools.

Connie Holtrop, mother of two special needs children who has used the transfer program last year to obtain better services for her children, was considering selling or renting her house and moving to the Ladue School District just to keep her kids in school there.

“I’m stunned and grateful beyond belief,” Hotrop said.  “I’ve been working like crazy trying to figure out options for trying to move my kids and myself into the Ladue School District.  It’s been hugely stressful.  At the same time, I’ve been calling Normandy and working to get them enrolled there.   So, to get this news is a complete godsend.”

The action will end up helping around 60 of the students, as some of the districts affected are no longer accepting transfers.

In the end, according to Herschend, “We probably overreacted.”