Bell City schools appeals DESE findings of illegal state aid

Friday, June 9, 2006

Bell City school officials have filed an appeal with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education over the agency's findings that the district illegally secured more than $19,000 in state aid this school year.

Education commissioner D. Kent King is expected to rule on the matter before the end of the month. The State Board of Education could ratify the commissioner's decision at its meeting on June 22, DESE spokesman Jim Morris said Friday.

The Bell City School District in Stoddard County enrolled 10 students who reside in the neighboring Scott County Central School District, an investigation by DESE found.

The Bell District unlawfully obtained more than $19,000 in state aid by reporting those students as residents of their district, state officials said. The state distributes state aid to school districts based on the number of resident students in those districts.

In a May 26 letter to state education commissioner D. Kent King, Bell City schools superintendent Rhonda Niemczyk said she doesn't agree with the agency's findings.

But she reported in the letter that the district will only dispute the findings as regards two students, Morris said.

For more details, check out Saturday's Southeast Missourian.

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