State BOE, Sen. LeVota react to Supreme Court ruling regarding student transfer law

Northeast News
December 11, 2013

With the court ruling that upheld the Missouri student transfer law, the State Board of Education and a state legislator are ready to discuss future action steps.

In a press release, the State Board of Education and the Department of Secondary and Elementary Education (DESE) said developing a comprehensive plan for struggling and unaccredited school districts is vital.

“While we have no control over the transfer law itself, we believe that the challenges it creates underline the necessity for developing a system of quality public school options that do not require children to leave their communities for education,” the press release stated.

“This is exactly why the State Board of Education is so committed to developing a comprehensive plan,” said Board President Peter Herschend. “Moving children from one place to another is not the answer. It creates hardships for families and has the potential to destroy communities.”

The State Board plans to address the issue during its January meeting. Following this meeting, a number of opportunities for public feedback and reaction will be scheduled.

Today, Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, filed legislation addressing Missouri’s school accreditation process and the transfer of students from unaccredited districts.

LeVota pre-filed Senate Bill 624, which would allow school districts to establish policies that outline class sizes and student-to-teacher ratios. Once a district establishes a desirable class size and student-to-teacher ratio, districts would not be required to accept transfer students from unaccredited school districts if the move would violate the class size and student-to-teacher ratio.

“This bill addresses the student transfer issue in a way that helps both the accredited and unaccredited school districts,” said LeVota. “It is unfair to overwhelm accredited districts with transferring students. On the other hand, it’s also unfair to turn students away if the district has the room to accommodate them.”

Senate Bill 624 also prohibits the State Board of Education from classifying a school district as unaccredited or reclassifying a district accreditation to provisional if a vacancy exists on the board for the congressional district where the school is located.

For more information on LeVota’s sponsored legislation, visit his Missouri Senate website at www.senate.mo.gov/levota.

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