Elected St. Louis school board eager to get its authority back, but may need to be patient | St. Louis Public Radio

Elected St. Louis school board eager to get its authority back, but may need to be patient

Apr 14, 2017

Members of St. Louis’ elected school board waited until after this month’s election to start clamoring to resume talks over regaining control of the city’s public schools. They’ll have to wait a bit longer, though, the state says.

Elected board President Susan Jones said the election of two new members is a proof enough that its reputation of dysfunction and mismanagement, which led to losing control a decade ago, is a thing of the past.

“That says to me that the taxpayers in the city of St. Louis care about what’s going on,” Jones, who was re-elected on April 4, said at a board meeting this week. “And that says to me that they want to have a voice back in education.”

Jones is keen to restart the closed-door talks about the elected board regaining authority that fizzled last year. Those meetings were put on hold because board member Bill Monroe disrupted them, in an attempt to to force the meetings to be open to the public, but Monroe wasn’t re-elected this month.

At his final meeting Tuesday, Monroe made an impassioned plea to fellow members to insist on transparency during the transition process. Natalie Vowell and Dorothy Rohde-Collins won spots on the board to replace him and Kathy Styer, who didn’t seek re-election.

Rick Sullivan, president of St. Louis Public Schools' Special Administrative Board at a meeting Thursday.
Credit Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

There is no defined process for shifting control of the district, which is now fully accredited, from the state-appointed board. The Special Administrative Board is authorized through June of 2019.

Still, administrative board President Rick Sullivan said this week that he’s willing to have another conversation about an earlier end date.

“Our board is gonna look at it again, in light of renewed interested in this, and see where we go and what we do,” he said.

The topic of transition isn’t on the state board of education’s agenda for this month’s meeting.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @rpatrickdelaney