Nixon Urged to Sign School Bill, Provide More Choice to Students

Even though it doesn’t make changes in student transfers that could save Normandy from bankruptcy, several education groups urged Gov. Jay Nixon Wednesday to sign the school bill approved by the Missouri legislature because it expands options for students in failing schools.

“Over the past few years, Missourians have demanded a solution to the student transfer issue,” said Ryan Stauffer, outreach director for StudentsFirst in Missouri. “This year, legislative leaders in both chambers responded in a powerful bipartisan manner to give more children a chance to receive a great education.

“By passing House Bill 42, the legislature has done its part to give students in some of the state’s worst performing schools more options to attend a quality school close to home.”

But Don Senti, who heads EducationPlus, urged Nixon not to sign the bill. In an interview Thursday, he called it a 168-page “hodge podge” that does nothing to help the transfer situation.

And, he said, because it would open the option of charter of virtual schools to thousands of students who now attend private or parochial schools, it would put additional pressure on a school foundation formula that is already underfunded.

“It really makes a bad situation worse,” Senti said, “and it certainly doesn’t solve the issue of transfers.

“Every child deserves a good education. I can’t argue with that. But kids who don’t transfer also deserve a good education.”

Instead of putting limits on the amount of tuition that districts could charge for receiving transfer students from unaccredited schools, the bill expands charter schools to St. Louis County and most of Jackson County near Kansas City. It also expands access to virtual schools.

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Source: STL Public Radio