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Student Transfer Issue Continues To Roil Missouri Districts

As he promised to do several weeks ago, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed legislation this week that would have overhauled the state's unpopular student-transfer law that allows students who attend unaccredited districts to enroll in nearby higher-performing school systems.

The Democratic governor was a sharp critic of the bill that he said failed to fix the flaws of the 20-year-old statute and that would set up a private-school voucher program for students in unaccredited districts he said was unconstitutional.

The veto news came a day after a suburban St. Louis district announced that hundreds of students who transferred there from the unaccredited Normandy school district would not be allowed to re-enroll for the 2014-15 school year after the state department of education asked receiving districts to reduce the tuition rates for such students.

Roughly 2,000 children from Normany and Riverview Gardens, another unaccredited district in the St. Louis region, transferred to higher-performing schools in nearby districts this past academic year. Their home districts had to pay for tuition and transportation costs, a responsibility that drove the deeply-troubled Normandy district to the verge of bankruptcy.

To avert that, Missouri education officials are to take over the Normandy district July 1 and have already taken action to reduce the school system's costs for Normany students who transferred out of the district last year.

The takeover—which will install an appointed school board and extend the school year by nine instructional days—prohibits additional Normandy students from transferring to other districts.

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