St. Louis Public Radio News
9:30 am
Wed April 23, 2003

School Board Slate Takes Office, Asks for Audit

St. Louis, MO – The four candidates who won this month's school board election in St. Louis were sworn in Tuesday night, just before their first meeting.

The slate of Darnetta Clinkscale, Vince Schoemehl, Ronald Jackson, and Bob Archibald used their new majority to request an audit of the district's books.

Schoemehl says the future may see a reworking of the district's bureaucracy to make sure more money goes directly to schools. "We have to completely reorganize the way in which we deliver the support systems out to the schools," the former mayor said. "The schools have to be ready for the kids before we can effectively get the kids ready for the schools."

The board also has to craft a budget for the next school year, which at this point will include at least $11 million less from the state. Superintendent Cleveland Hammonds, who is retiring in June, urged the new board members to travel to Jefferson City to lobby lawmakers not to make such drastic cuts to education.

Clinkscale, the new board president, says the hope is to hire an individual or possibly even a firm to run the district in the interim after Hammonds' retirement. One of the firm's employees would serve as superintendent.

"We think it's really important to evaluate and determine what are the most important issues, prioritize them, and start to address them prior to getting a permanent superintendent," Clinkscale said.