Francis Howell district says Normandy transfer students first need individual court orders


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ST. LOUIS — A St. Charles County school district is requiring transfer students from the troubled Normandy system to get individual court orders before they can return.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ( reports that the Francis Howell district expects up to 350 students from Normandy in after a judge ruled that school districts must continue to abide by a state law that allows children to leave unaccredited districts for higher performing ones.

The ruling negated a move by the Missouri Board of Education to relieve Normandy from complying with the transfer law. That change briefly allowed school systems to reject Normandy transfers.

The Pattonville, Ritenour and Ferguson-Florissant districts reversed their decisions and now enroll Normandy students. Only Francis Howell requires a court order for each student wanting to re-enroll.

Attorney Joshua Schindler, who represents many of the transfer students on behalf of the Children's Education Alliance of Missouri, a school-choice organization financed by investment banker Rex Sinquefield, said Francis Howell's approach is resulting in lost class time.

Schindler has been obtaining legal permission for students from Normandy to attend Francis Howell. The district ended the year with about 430 students from Normandy.

"The bottom line is, I'm not stopping," Schindler said. "I'm not going to stop until every kid is who wants to be back in Francis Howell is back in Francis Howell."

Francis Howell's attorney fees related to those cases total $17,000 so far and are covered by the district's insurance, said district spokeswoman Jennifer Henry.

Like the other districts involved, Francis Howell says it will charge its full tuition rate, which was $11,034 last year. Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro had previously asked districts to charge a lower amount of about $7,200 to keep the Normandy system solvent.

Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

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