Nixon Vetoes Transfer Bill . . . Again
Today, Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a bill to amend the transfer program for students in unaccredited school districts for the second time in two years. HB 42, this session’s version, would have expanded virtual and charter school options for students in failing schools in Jackson and Saint Louis counties, created a new accreditation process evaluating individual schools rather than districts, required students to transfer to an accredited school within an unaccredited district first, and restricted transfers to those students who have lived in a failing district for one semester.
The governor foreshadowed this move on Tuesday when he announced a new plan for the state’s two unaccredited districts. Twenty-two higher-performing districts will commit to offering a lower tuition rate for students transferring from Riverview Gardens and Normandy and will provide instructional support for the unaccredited districts. Apparently for him, that is enough for the students in Riverview Gardens and Normandy for at least another year.
But it is not enough for them. Students in these districts should be able to attend the school that best fits their needs, be that a charter school, a virtual school, or a private school. Even one year within a failing school can cause irreparable damage in the life of a student. Students shouldn’t have to wait for support from other districts or their own district to get its act together.
Last year, the governor vetoed the transfer bill because it allowed for the creation of a tiny school voucher program. Legislators cut that provision this year, and still the bill was vetoed.