Local school districts see no upside from Normandy’s unaccreditation

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CREVE COEUR, MO (KPLR) – Details of a new study released this morning paint a dire picture for St. Louis area school districts if the Normandy district collapses and thousands of students from Normandy have to be sent elsewhere.

'Moving an unaccredited school district particularly a district the size of Normandy, into another district has a big impact,' said Mike Fulton, the Superintendent of the Pattonville School District.

And that impact isn`t good according to a new study released through Education Plus, a Creve Coeur group formerly known as the Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis.

Many superintendents gathered at the Education Plus headquarters on Craig Rd. to hear the study`s results.

It focuses on how the 26 other St. Louis area school districts could be impacted if Normandy goes bankrupt and collapses.

That could happen by April 1st unless state leaders approve millions in taxpayer funded aid.

We`re told if Normandy goes broke, state education officials would decide whether to place Normandy students in one district or in multiple districts.

The study concludes that many districts would see negative financial impacts and downgrades in accreditation status if they had to absorb all of Normandy`s students.

'We started a program, policy makers in the state, all of us adults, started a program that we knew was not sustainable financially,' said Don Senti, the Executive Director of Education Plus.

While making troubling projections, study organizers also pitched a plan offering a solution to the problem of unaccredited districts.

That plan was developed by superintendents, is backed by Education Plus and is before state leaders.

It centers on preserving districts like Normandy and improving them through local control and early intervention.

'We leave the kids in the neighborhood and we work directly with individual schools to try and make the schools better,' said Senti.

Meanwhile, Normandy`s Superintendent, Ty McNichols, says more far reaching problems could be coming without substantial change soon.

'I`m optimistic that people are starting to understand the story and Normandy just happens to be on the forefront but all of my other compadres who happen to be in the provisional and unaccredited are on this same track if things don`t change,' explained Nichols.

All eyes in this ongoing drama are now focused on next Tuesday.

That`s when state education leaders could make an important decision on choosing a long term plan for helping unaccredited districts.

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