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The Rundown: RIP Normandy School District -- and 2014 Legislative Session

Tim Lloyd, St. Louis Public Radio

We know that you listen to us on air and check our website for news and information about our region. We hope that you look at our website every day, but we know that's not always possible. So, once a week, on Friday, we will highlight some of the website's top stories.

RIP Normandy

Last summer was a tumultuous one for the Normandy School District, which had to deal with hundreds of students transferring to other school districts. One year later, Normandy School District is involved in another upheaval -- its own potential demise. Normandy families and newly minted graduates reflect on the year past and ahead.

As It Walks Uncertain Path, Normandy Graduates Seniors

Despite an unclear future, the tone at what is likely to be the unaccredited Normandy School District’s final graduation under its current structure was one of pride and perseverance. The swirl of controversy hardly dampened the spirits of the graduates.

For One Family, A Year Of Early Mornings And Long Drives Draws To A Close

It’s just after 7 a.m., and SheRon Chaney already has her family packed into an SUV and ready for school. Early mornings, long drives, hope for a better education: It’s a narrative that’s played out for families across the region this school year.  Now the dissolution of the Normandy School District and possible changesin the transfer program are ratcheting up the uncertainty for the Chaneys and hundreds of other families. 

Normandy Files Suit Challenging State Transfer Law

One day after the Missouri Board of Education voted to replace the Normandy school district with a new, state-controlled entity, Normandy filed suit challenging the law that lets students transfer from unaccredited districts.

Missouri Board Of Education Approves Replacing Normandy School District With New Organization

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Missouri Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to replace the Normandy School District with a new entity with the same boundaries but run by an appointed board, effective July 1. The accreditation status of the new district was not immediately clear. That means that no one is sure yet whether students in the district would be able to take advantage of the state’s transfer law and enroll in accredited schools in nearby districts. The state board is expected to take up that question in June.

'Accounted For' in St. Charles

New state achievement standards require 90 percent of students in a district to be in class 90 percent of the time. In 2013, only 86 percent of St. Charles students met that threshold. The district is launching a program to address that problem. After all, a student has to be in school to achieve in school.

St. Charles Launches Push To Get Students In Class

Educators and politicians in St. Charles say they have a plan in place to reduce the number of chronically absent students in the city’s school district. Starting next year, the district will implement a truancy court, a program designed to get families the resources they need to keep students in school as often as possible.

Last words on the legislature

Speaker of the House Tim Jones, R-Eureka, called the recently concluded legislative session "historic." Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat deciding the fate of several controversial bills on his desk, called it "abysmal."

Missouri House Chamber
Credit (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
Inside the Missouri House of Representatives.

We Asked Five Questions About Missouri's Legislative Session; Here Are The Answers

Few could accuse the Missouri General Assembly of languishing during its last few days of session. In fact, the legislature’s last dash was something of a whirlwind: It featured fierce debates over bills about student transfers and abortion restrictions. Lawmakers also sent proposals on a transportation tax and early voting procedures to the November ballot. Other efforts fizzled out, including last-minute pushes to expand and reconfigure the state’s Medicaid system.

Two Bills Will Have Broad Impact On Missouri Students – If They Become Law

Two bills passed by Missouri lawmakers this week would have a significant impact on how and what students in the state are taught – if the legislation escapes a veto by Gov. Jay Nixon. The first bill, Senate Bill 493, changes how transfers by students in unaccredited school districts will be handled, starting this fall. The second bill, House Bill 1490, rolls back Missouri’s adoption of Common Core standards.

2014 Missouri Legislative Session Recap Discussion

With the 2014 Missouri legislative session at an end, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jo Mannies, Dale Singer and Marshall Griffin discussed the results with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and University of Missouri-St. Louis political science professor Terry Jones.

Home, sweet home

Could it be? Could St. Louis actually be cool? The evidence may be building...

Arch Grants: Attracting and Keeping Entrepreneurs In St. Louis and Arch Grants 2014 Class Announced

With a logo that pictures the Gateway Arch as a giant magnet, the Arch grants competition is attracting more interest. The global startup competition gives each winning business $50,000 and free support services, in exchange for moving to St. Louis for at least a year. Only six of this year's 20 winning companies are from St. Louis

The Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis.
Credit (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
The Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis.

St. Louis Gets Its Report Card: Plans For Bike Routes On Track

As St. Louisans participated in National Bike to Work Day recently, a local group reflected on its efforts to make the region more bike-friendly. Great Rivers Greenway has released a report, grading St. Louis’ progress on a regional bike plan.

Why Do You Stay In The St. Louis Region? #WhyIStay

What makes you stay in the St. Louis area? Is it the Cardinals? Your family? A great set of friends? The architecture? A job you love? Whatever the reason, share it with others. Take a picture that captures why you stay in the St. Louis area, and share it on Instagram or Twitter. Use the hashtag #WhyIStay in your caption.

Susan Hegger comes to St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon as the politics and issues editor, a position she has held at the Beacon since it started in 2008.