DESE denies Normandy lawsuit expenses

ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KSDK) – One day after Normandy School District filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the "school transfer law," the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has denied expenses for the lawsuit.

This past February, the Missouri State Board of Education approved a measure for DESE to take control of the district's finances.

According to DESE, the district must notify it of all expenditures, new contracts and other financial obligations, which was not done in relation to the lawsuit.

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Normandy is challenging the validity of a statute that requires unaccredited school districts, such as Normandy and Riverview Garden, to pay tuition and transportation costs for students who transfer out of the district.

DESE would not comment on the lawsuit. Normandy has not yet released a statement.

View DESE's full statement below:

Based upon media reports on May 21, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has notified the Normandy School District that expenses related to a lawsuit against the State Board of Education and area school districts would not be approved.

The State Board voted unanimously in February to take financial control of the district to ensure that students would be able to finish the school year in the Normandy district. On February 26, 2014, an oversight plan was provided to the Normandy District that called for Department approval of all expenditures of the district. Further, it called for the District to notify the Department and gain approval before extending any new contracts or handling any unanticipated financial obligations. The district did not notify the Department of the cost to file such a suit. This action violates the terms in which the local school board would remain in place through the end of the school year.

"Normandy's finances are very fragile, and we need to make every effort to allow students to finish the school year in June," said Deputy Commissioner Ron Lankford.

The Department has not received the lawsuit and cannot comment on its merits.


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