The Transfer Program – Curbing The Decade-Long Drop In Enrollment?
According to data from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, enrollment in the Normandy School District has been dropping for years. The district has been losing approximately 122 students per year and has 1,100 fewer students than it did in 2004. That is with the influx of students the district received when it absorbed nearly 600 students from Wellston in 2010.
The Normandy School District has some of the worst academic results in the state. About half of Normandy students fail to graduate high school on time. Among those who do, the prospects are slim. The average ACT score for Normandy students is just 16.8. That is not high enough to gain admittance to most state universities. On top of that, the district’s property tax rate of $6.3974 per $100 of assessed valuation is among the highest in the state. That is $1.50 per $100 higher than the average Saint Louis County school district.
Despite these facts, there seems to be a force strong enough to get 130 students to move into the district – the school transfer law.
As I explained yesterday on the blog, I don’t really believe that all of these families moved into the district simply to take advantage of the program. Normandy Superintendent Ty McNichols seems to believe a slight uptick in occupancy permits proves otherwise.
Let’s just assume for argument’s sake that he is correct. Let’s assume that all 130 students who had not attended Normandy schools in the 2012-13 school year moved into the district simply to transfer to a better school. That would mean that now the families of those 130 students are paying property taxes on their homes or through the rent payments in the Normandy School District. It would mean the transfer program is helping to curb the decade-long trend of families fleeing the Normandy area. These are good things.
The fact that some individuals may be willing to move to take advantage of the transfer program is not an indictment of the program. Rather, it demonstrates how important educational choice is for families.