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Blunt doesn't endorse or dismiss SLPS state takeover

Gov. Matt Blunt (UPI file photo)


St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis School Board will meet tonight (Tuesday) for the first time since replacing Creg Williams with interim superintendent Diana Bourisaw last week.

Bourisaw will not be at the meeting because of a prior committment.

Mayor Francis Slay has called on the state to take over the district in the wake of Williams's departure last week.

Monday, Gov. Matt Blunt did not endorse a take-over in a statement, but he said the state Board of Education should examine "every alternative" to bring stability.

The state's Education Commissioner, Kent King, also told the district the state is keeping a watchful eye.

State takeovers are only allowed when a district stays unaccredited for two straight years or can't pay its bills -- two criteria the St. Louis district does not meet. Another allowance is when the district can't stay open for a full school calendar year.

Whether the new superintendent can have schools open on the scheduled Aug. 28th first day has been the focus of a lot of attention; Bourisaw is pledging schools will open on time.

On Monday night, several protesters gathered on the front lawn of school board president Veronica O'Brien's home. They say the school board isn't listening to the public, so they say they decided to bring the public to the board.

Former Vashon High School basketball coach Floyd Irons, who was fired last week, was among the protesters who showed up. Others included students, teachers and church members.

Police arrived quickly. O'Brien came out, but did not address the crowd.

Gov. Blunt's entire statement on the St. Louis School District

"I am extremely disappointed with the action taken by the St. Louis School Board. This termination adds to the turmoil and only heightens the well founded public perception that the board has lost focus on what would best serve the students and parents of St. Louis.

"This kind of instability is not good for delivering education. Amidst all the chaos we must not lose sight of what is in the best interest of the more than 37,000 Missouri children who rely upon the St. Louis public schools to provide them an education which would allow them to reach their full potential.

"To that end I believe the State Board of Education should examine every alternative for quick action to bring stability to the St. Louis public schools."

Programming note: You can join the conversation about the district on St. Louis on the Air this morning (Tuesday) at 11:00.


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