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DESE Offers Advice on Transfers from Unaccredited Districts

Posted: Jun 19, 2013 6:24 PM by Tom Casselman
Updated: Jun 20, 2013 8:06 AM

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released a set of guidelines designed to help students who want to transfer from schools in unaccredited districts to schools in accredited districts.

These guidelines come on the heels of the Missouri Supreme Court upholding the 1993 statute that required schools from unaccredited districts to pay tuition for students transferring to nearby accredited districts. Some school districts have argued that the 1993 law violated the Missouri Constitution by imposing an unfunded state mandate. St. Louis County Circuit Judge David Lee Vincent III agreed in a May 2012 ruling in which he said the some schools would not be able to comply with the law due to budgetary issues. The Missouri Supreme Court overruled that verdict on June 11.

Transferring students can be a challenging prospect, both for families and schools, so the DESE decided to share some guidelines for making the process as simple as possible, especially considering the legal aspect as well.

"We need to provide guidance for districts in implementing the law," said Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro. "It's critical that policy be in place to ensure a smooth transition for new students transferring into accredited districts from unaccredited districts."

There are currently three unaccredited districts in Missouri: Kansas City and the suburban St. Louis school systems of Normandy and Riverview Gardens.

If students apply to a school in a district that has higher demand than availability, the students will be entered into a lottery for the limited available seats. Some preference may be given to students who have already have siblings enrolled in the district.

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