Schools takeover
4:18 pm
Thu April 14, 2011

State moves to take over East St. Louis schools

The nine-member Illinois State Board of Education has moved to take control of the financially and academically struggling East St. Louis School District 189.

According to the Belleville News-Democrat, an educational consultant that answers to the state board will review "everything" - all contracts, hiring and firing, and education decisions. The consultant will have the final say, but state board chairman Jesse Ruiz said it would be a "collaborative process."

Ruiz says if District 189 superintendent Theresa Saunders refuses to prepare the contract that would allow the consultant to come in, the state board could step in and remove the elected District 189 board.

The News-Democrat says the state board made its decision Wednesday.

According to the state board agenda from the Wednesday meeting, two factors triggered the decision to send a consultant to take over ultimate control of financial and educational activities in District 189: failure to properly staff and operate the district's 1,100 student special education section, and an overall failure by the district to ensure that all students, "...demonstrate academic achievement and are prepared for success after high school."

The district's "...sustained low academic performance and a lack of compliance with federal and state special education laws has triggered the necessity of state intervention at this time," the agenda stated.

The latest state proficiency scores show just one of 11 students at East St. Louis Senior High School can meet minimum standards in math and reading.