View from the Capitol by State Rep. Ed Schieffer
The Normandy School District Board of Education on Oct. 24 voted 3-2 against paying tuition bills it owes for many of its students to attend other public school districts. In response, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education plans to withhold money from Normandy’s monthly distribution of state funds to ensure that the districts that have taken Normandy students are paid.
Many Normandy students transferred to other districts after the Missouri Supreme Court in June upheld the constitutionality of a state law that allows students in unaccredited school districts to transfer to nearby accredited districts and requires the “home” district to pay tuition and transportation costs. Students from another unaccredited district in north St. Louis County, Riverview Gardens, also transferred in large numbers following the court’s decision.
Prior to the Normandy school board’s refusal to pay its tuition bills, DESE officials had asked the state to provide the district with $6.8 million in emergency funding. Without the additional money, the district is expected to go broke later this school year. However, some lawmakers have said Normandy’s action makes it less likely that the General Assembly will approve the request, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Dealing with unaccredited schools and court rulings which require them to send children to other districts will require some serious discussion in the next legislative session.
Former longtime U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, who as a member, and later chairman, of the House Armed Services Committee played an instrumental role in expanding Missouri’s two major military bases, died Oct. 28 at a hospital in Arlington, Va. He was 81.
Skelton was born Dec. 20, 1931 at Lexington. Young Ike served as a page for Harry S Truman when Truman was in the U.S. Senate. He was elected Lafayette County prosecuting attorney in 1956, a position once held by his father. After leaving the post for private practice, he returned to elective office by winning a seat in the Missouri Senate in 1970. He served six years in the state Senate prior to his election to Congress.
A Democrat, Skelton was first elected to Congress in 1976 from the state’s 4th District, which covers parts of western and central Missouri. He served for 34 years before losing his bid for an 18th term. He was respected and liked by many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Like me, he was considered a conservative Democrat who served rural Missouri well. He will be greatly missed.
As always, I respect your trust and value your advice, comments and questions. Let me know how I may serve you and your family. Now that the Legislature is adjourned, I am home in the District. I would be available to meet with groups or individuals locally. Please call me at (573)751-9459, toll free at (855)285-3781, locally at (636)299-3270 or (636)462-7295. If you wish to fax my office, our number is (573)522-0441. You may email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also check the final outcome of legislation at http://house.mo.gov.