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Transitional school board holds first meeting in St. Louis

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By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Members of the new three-member board overseeing St. Louis Public Schools held their first meeting today.

A Cole County Circuit Court denied an appeal by the former school board late last night for a temporary restraining order to stop the intervention.

In his first official statements to the public board CEO Richard Sullivan emphasized a message of inclusion.

"Most of our time, I believe over the next several reach will be spent in community outreach," said Sullivan.

"We want to attend the community meetings that are already scheduled by aldermen, state representatives, other leaders within the community."

One thing he knows for sure however, he will not move to replace current District Superintendent Diana Bourisaw.

"She will continue to be the superintendent. I think she has worked hard, I've said before I think she is an experienced educator and most of all I admire her dedication to the kids so she will certainly be the superintendent of this school district."

Two of the board appointees, Richard Gaines and Melanie Adams, were first made public yesterday.

Even with the new board established legal efforts to overturn the Transitional School District are still in the works and tensions within the district are running high.

Teacher's union vice-president Byron Clemens issued cat-calls during the Pledge of Allegiance; others openly scoffed or laughed during opening statements.

Elected board member David Jackson still refuses to acknowledge the transitional board's authority.

"As far as I'm concerned, this board is not governing the St. Louis Public School District," said Jackson.

"We were elected by the people, we are moving forward with our goals. If they want to reach out to help in that process we're willing to sit at the table."

For the time being transitional board CEO, Rick Sullivan, says he won't break with any of the decisions the elected school board had made but that may change.

The transitional board is charged to work and cooperate with the elected board, a challenge which transitional board member Richard Gaines says could be difficult.

"I was elected so of course I'm concerned it was one of the major concerns that I had when President Reed and I began talking about this."

"Yes I'm concerned and they [the elected school board] have every right to be concerned they were duly elected."

The transitional board will hold a public feedback forum next Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 at the St. Louis Science Center.

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