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Fulton mother hails school choice victory

by Helen Wilbers | August 8, 2019 at 1:58 a.m. | Updated August 8, 2019 at 1:27 p.m.
The outside of Fulton High School, part of Fulton Public Schools, is shown.

Following Monday's ruling, a Fulton mother is relieved her children will have the chance to access online schooling.

"My family and I are so pleased with the result of Judge (Gael) Wood's ruling that our children cannot be denied access to the Missouri Virtual Academy (MOVA) virtual education program," Miya Estill said Tuesday in a statement issued through the National Coalition for Public School Options, which supported her case.

Estill brought the suit on behalf of her three young children, who were denied enrollment in MOVA earlier this year by Fulton Public Schools because Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education had not approved it. At the time, DESE had yet to approve any comprehensive online program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

"My husband and I had determined that a full-time virtual school option was in the best interest of our family, for all three children, and to think we had hit a roadblock and that it would not be available to us was disheartening," Estill said.

Following a Friday hearing at the Cole County Courthouse, Wood issued a writ of mandamus ordering DESE to put MOVA on its list of approved MOCAP providers no later than 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. He also ordered DESE to pay court costs, but did not order FPS to provide any particular relief.

"Now, with this court decision, my children are looking forward to the school year, and we look forward to working to get them adequately enrolled with the help of Fulton School District before school starts," Estill added.

As reported in Tuesday's Fulton Sun, the ruling doesn't guarantee Estill's children will be able to enroll in the MOVA courses.

However, with MOVA added to DESE's list of available online courses, the ruling does mean Estill and her husband can restart the process of enrollment. That process involves meeting with school officials to determine whether online schooling and these particular courses are what's best for the children.


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