Ferguson-Florissant School District

Images from the "Hearts for Ferguson" project
Great Circle

After Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson last summer, and unrest delayed the opening of classes in the Ferguson-Florissant schools, the district wanted to make sure students had help handling their emotions, so their learning wasn't affected.

(via Flickr/lowjumpingfrog)

Voters in the Webster Groves School District said a resounding no Tuesday to two proposals — a bond issue and a tax increase — that will mean layoffs of teachers and cancellation of plans to expand and improve district facilities.

While those proposals were soundly defeated, voters in Rockwood and Ferguson-Florissant put past controversies behind them and gave solid majorities to bond issues designed to improve facilities in both of those districts.

voting booth for paper ballot
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Two St. Louis County school districts are asking voters to put recent controversies behind them and approve bond issues next month to help bring facilities up to date.

In Rockwood, where two bond issues have failed in recent years, $68.95 million in bonds would pay for improved technology and increased security along with better athletic facilities. In Ferguson-Florissant, a $31 million bond issue would fund capital improvements and repairs, safety and security measures and updated technology.

Joseph Davis, the newly selected superintendent of Ferguson-Florissant, gives students a round of applause, saying that they are the reason he's here.
Camille Phillips | St.Louis Public Radio

Updated at 8:00 p.m. to include details from Wednesday afternoon’s news conference.

Ferguson-Florissant school board president Rob Chabot officially introduced the district’s new superintendent Wednesday afternoon in front of a backdrop of Ferguson-Florissant students.

File photo

As one north St. Louis County school district begins its search for a new superintendent – its fourth leader in a little more than two years – its neighbor is about to decide who will replace a superintendent whose departure created a storm of controversy.

The St. Louis Classical Guitar Society wants to help the Ferguson healing process, one guitar at a time.

Through grants, the Ferguson Guitar Initiative is donating guitars and lessons to fifth- and sixth-grade students in the Normandy and Ferguson-Florissant school districts starting next week.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Carlotta Walls Lanier asked students at McCluer South-Berkeley High School in Ferguson to imagine a helicopter circling above and 1,200 troops from the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division on their campus.

This is what life was like when she was the youngest of nine African-American students to integrate Little Rock Central High School in 1957 amid mobs of white segregationists. 

Art McCoy
File copy | Ferguson-Florissant website

Art McCoy may have a new job with an international focus, but the former superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant school district says he will still pay attention to the need for better learning in north St. Louis County.

Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio

After a hearing in St. Louis County Circuit Court Wednesday, Judge Michael Burton cleared the way for 13 more students to transfer out of the Normandy school district.

Burton had ruled last week that the Missouri state school board had acted improperly when it made changes that exempted students who live in Normandy from the benefits of Missouri’s school transfer law. As a result, he said, Normandy’s status should remain as unaccredited, and students should have the right to transfer to nearby accredited schools.

(via Flickr/lowjumpingfrog)

Updated at 8:30 a.m., Wed., April 9.

School board elections brought little change to Normandy and Ferguson-Florissant. In Normandy, three incumbents were facing four challengers for spots on the seven-person board. The winners were current board members Jeanette Pulliam with 19.07 percent and William Humphrey with 16 percent of the vote. A challenger, Gwendolyn Buggs, earned a seat on the board with a little more than 15 percent of the vote.

St. Louis Public Radio

School board elections often prompt little more than a ripple of public interest, but they are stirring up quite a bit more in at least two north St. Louis County districts this spring.

In Normandy, three incumbents are facing four challengers for seats on a board that may not even exist after the end of this school year. In Ferguson-Florissant, two incumbents are facing a slate that was moved to join the field after Superintendent Art McCoy was placed on administrative leave, plus other candidates who entered the race as well. McCoy has since resigned his post.

Entrance to Normandy High School campus
(via Google Maps screen capture)

On Tuesday, April 8, voters will take to the polls to elect board members for their local school districts. April elections, with their focus on local issues such as schools and municipalities, traditionally have a low turnout. However, the results of these elections have a big impact on people’s day-to-day lives, including the policies implemented in their children’s schools.

Ferguson-Florissant website / Art McCoy

Updated with interview with McCoy and report on rally: Art McCoy, who was placed on paid leave from his post as superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant School District in November, has resigned from his job, effective this Saturday.

The move was announced Wednesday afternoon in a joint news release from McCoy and the district Wednesday.

Ferguson-Florissant website / Art McCoy

Art McCoy, who is currently on paid administrative leave from his job as superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant School District, is in the running for the position 0f president of Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon has learned.

Asked about his candidacy for the job, McCoy said in an interview he did not want to discuss it while his status in Ferguson-Florissant remains unclear. But he did acknowledge that he had been asked by several people to consider the Harris-Stowe job, and he agreed to join the search pool.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Access to quality education as a basic civil right was a major theme during the NAACP’s Rosa Parks Observance Day ceremony Sunday at the Old Courthouse downtown.

“Education is definitely a top priority for us,” said John Gaskin, who was recently sworn in as a member of the NAACP’s National Board of Directors.  

A speech from suspended Ferguson Florissant School District Superintendent Art McCoy closed the event, and Gaskin said the choice sends a message that the civil rights organization is committed to putting classroom success above politics.

Ferguson-Florissant website

Updated 3:30 p.m., Fri., Jan. 24 with news from press conference called by Grade A 4 Change.

Two of three incumbents on the Ferguson-Florissant school board who voted to put Superintendent Art McCoy on paid leave are running for re-election in April, but they will be facing challengers hand-picked because of their support for McCoy.

Ferguson-Florissant website / Art McCoy

Updated Feb. 23, 2014 

Lawyers for Superintendent Art McCoy and the Ferguson-Florissant School District have agreed to a hearing date of March 12-13, according to a district spokesperson. 

McCoy is currently on administrative leave with pay.

This will be McCoy's first opportunity to respond to the board's charges.

For the board, the hearing is a necessary step before it could dismiss McCoy.

Ferguson-Florissant website

The Ferguson-Florissant school board has issued a list of charges to Superintendent Art McCoy, now on paid administrative leave, that could lead to his being fired for cause according to the terms of his contract.

Details of the charges were not released. The next step is for the board to schedule a hearing on the charges, which may or may not be open to the public, depending on whether McCoy and board members can reach mutual agreement on that point. No date for the hearing has been set.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

The Superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant School District, Art McCoy, spoke publicly today for the first time about being placed on administrative leave by the school board on Nov. 6.

Last week the Missouri Department of Education said it had found “significant alterations” to 2012 student attendance data that was submitted in August, and that it will work with district staff to make the necessary corrections. The state factors attendance numbers into how much funding a district will receive.   

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

This afternoon several community activists in north St. Louis County voiced their frustration with the Ferguson-Florissant School Board’s decision to place Superintendent Art McCoy on administrative leave.

Rev. Freddy Clark of Shalom Church, City of Peace said parents and community members want an explanation, immediately.  Clark, who is part of the Citizen’s Task Force on Excellence in Education, denounced the move and said McCoy is a gifted educator.