The Missouri Revised Statute 167.131 allows for students in an unaccredited district to transfer to any school district within their home county or to any district in an adjoining county. This is doing nothing to fix the issues that reside within the unaccredited district; it is simply transferring the issues and problems of one county to another county, without tax payer approval.
Leaving this statute as-is, opens the door to repercussions that could be detrimental to numerous communities and counties; potentially affecting the quality of education in the accepting school district.
Added 07/08/13 -
I have been asked why I decided to start this petition and what outcome I expect. Here is my answer:
I began following the comments on the Francis Howell School Districts Facebook page after the initial announcement by Superintendent Sloan, and subsequent posts by the FH District. I watched the comments going in a direction that was very unflattering to our community and taking the issue off topic (on both sides of this issue). I posted a few times asking the posters to take some sort of constructive action, like emailing the FH board members, state legislators, etc. This seemed to have very little effect and the comments got continually worse. While I respect everyone's view on this issue, complaining to one another and getting in heated conversations on Facebook do nothing to fix the issue. I began researching petitions and how to voice my concern in a productive way and came across the change.org site and thought that it was a good starting point.
I feel very strongly in community, civic, and personal responsibility. Transferring students to other counties is not the solution to fixing the problem within the unaccredited district. The Normandy school district and the Riverview Gardens school district have been let down by their own community. The leadership in these districts need to stand up and be accountable for the shape that these schools are currently in. By limiting transfers within the school's home county, puts pressure on the districts and communities as a whole to do something about the decline in education for their children. These children and families have been let down, but whose burden is this to carry and what will this do to the unaccredited district?
My main goal with this petition is to get Missouri Legislators to listen and re-evaluate this law. The bottom line is to fix the issues in failing districts rather than allowing these districts to skirt the issue and simply transplant the problem. Leaving it as is, in my opinion, is unacceptable; tax payers and accepting schools should and need to have a say.
I have seen posts on Facebook saying that signing this will do nothing to change the law. I take that as a challenge and see it as part of my civic duty and my parental responsibility to my children to voice my concern and to be heard. What outcome am I seeking? A special session would be ideal. But if that doesn't happen, I would like our elected officials to note that leaving the law as written is a concern to a number of tax payers and ask that they address this issue once back in session.
When asked about the city of St. Louis and their 1 school district, my reply is this:
St. Louis City chose to secede from St. Louis County in 1877 in order to limit it's political boundaries. Obviously, this is a very valid issue that St. Louis City needs to address in regards to limitations proposed in my petition on amending the transfer law.
Since St. Louis City chose to be unincorporated, perhaps they should utilize the funding they would spend on tuition and transportation to transfer students and fix their current infrastructure. This would serve to help the other school districts such as Normandy and Riverview Gardens, as well. What if every adjacent county and surrounding county was unaccredited; what would they do then? Addressing the core issues within the individual district is the only way to fix this situation. If St. Louis City wants to protect and or limit political boundaries, why can't the counties?