Proposal Would Affect St. Louis Superintendent
By Maria Hickey, KWMU
St. Louis, MO. – The St. Louis Public Schools' legislative package has caused more of a stir this year than usual.
One of the bills would change the language regarding the superintendent's powers. It would make the superintendent subject to "policies established by" the board, rather than to the board's "approval."
Some critics, including newly-elected board member Bill Purdy, say the legislation would mean important decisions about the budget and hiring could be done behind closed doors.
"Potentially it transfers some of the important decision-making that should be made out in public by the elected representatives of the people; those decisions can be made now by the appointed superintendent of schools," Purdy said.
But bill sponsor Democratic Senator Maida Coleman says the language is used by all of the school districts in Missouri except St. Louis.
"What I'm trying to do with this legislation is just give it some jargon that's in step with what the rest of the school districts do across the state," Coleman said.
Coleman says the legislation, which was brought to her by the district's lobbyist, does nothing to take away power from the school board.
But the Senator says she's not surprised that there's been some suspicion about the legislation because of past problems within the district.