(This post originally appeared on the Show-Me Daily blog)
On Wednesday, Elisa Crouch and Jessica Bock of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Francis Howell will allow transfer students from the Normandy School District to return. That is, if those students take legal action and force the school district to comply with the law.
The Francis Howell School District will continue to require court orders for students from Normandy who want to transfer, said Jennifer Henry, district spokeswoman. The district sent a letter today to parents to inform them that it was possible 350 students could be returning, but that it was unclear how many would take legal action.
So far, 17 transfer students have returned to Francis Howell through court orders.
Henry said district leaders continue to believe that the transfer situation depletes the resources for the larger student population who remain in the school district.
The district claims it is not accepting all of the students, as other school districts have done, because they are concerned about draining resources from the unaccredited Normandy School District. This is simply taking a faux moral high ground.
Francis Howell is a great district. They have great teachers, administrators, resources, and students. Because of the large size of the district, roughly 17,000 students, it easily can accommodate an influx of 350 to 400 students in need of better educational opportunities. And, as we just found out, student achievement in the district was not negatively impacted by the influx of Normandy students.
If Francis Howell really wanted to take the high ground, they would open their doors to students desperate for a quality education and they would lower their tuition rate. Even with a lower tuition rate, the district could still see a financial windfall. If they did that, they would be showing true compassion for the students who want to transfer and the students who do not.
Forcing students to sue in order to obtain their spot that they are promised by state law in order to save Normandy money is not charitable, it is poor form and simply bad policy.