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Slay, Reed name appointments to transitional board

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Melanie Adams is Mayor Slay's pick for the transitional board.

By KWMU

St. Louis, MO – St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Aldermanic President Lewis Reed announced their picks Thursday for the city's three-member transitional school board.

Reed chose St. Louis businessman and former board of education president Richard Gaines.

Mayor Slay picked Melanie Adams, who works for the Missouri Historical Society. She previously headed the St. Louis chapter of Teach for America.

Adams is not discussing any specific plans for the district. But she said she is optimistic the new board will be able to reverse declining student achievement.

"There are a lot of models out there that are showing there are children in poverty who are doing well academically, and I think it's important for St. Louis and the special administrative board to seek out those models and put them in place," Adams said.

In March, Governor Matt Blunt chose St. Louis County developer Rick Sullivan to serve on the panel.

However Susan Turk, whose son is a student in the district, said because the three were appointed, they will not be accountable to voters.

"Nobody knows what the kids need more than the parents do, and we've worked very hard to become a majority of the school board," Turk said. "And just when we do that, the state takes it away from us and puts it in the hands of people who don't have children in the district."

Turk also said the new board has not been specific about its plans, and she is concerned there will not be enough state oversight.

The district sued to stop the state takeover. Cole County Judge Richard Callahan heard arguments in the case, and is expected to issue a ruling late Thursday.

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