Thursday, December 18, 2008

Missouri Department of Education on Supreme Court Decision to Disband St. Louis Education Board

Missouri Supreme Court Upholds Decision on

St. Louis School District’s Loss of Accreditation

(Press Release Missouri Department of Education)

In a unanimous decision yesterday (Dec. 16), the Missouri Supreme Court upheld last year’s decision by the State Board of Education to classify the St. Louis Public Schools as unaccredited.

“This was a significant case for the children served by the St. Louis Public Schools and for the State of Missouri,” said Peter Herschend, Branson, a long-time member of the State Board of Education. He was president of the board last year when it voted to de-accredit Missouri’s largest school district.

“The Supreme Court ruling clearly upholds the standards used to evaluate the St. Louis Public Schools and all other school districts in Missouri. It reaffirms the accreditation process that state education officials used in reaching this difficult decision. It solidifies the authority of the special administrative board that is now working to move the St. Louis Public Schools forward,” he said.

In March 2007, the State Board of Education voted to drop the St. Louis Public Schools to unaccredited status, with an effective date of June 15, 2007. That decision cleared the way for a three-person “special administrative board” to take over the governance of the St. Louis Public Schools on June 15, replacing the elected board of education.

Some members of the elected school board challenged the validity of the State Board of Education’s decision and the constitutionality of the special administrative board. These challenges were first rejected by the Cole County Circuit Court in a January 2008 decision.

Yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court came in the appeal of that circuit court decision.

“The decision to uphold the statutes permitting state intervention in the St. Louis School District is a victory for the students and educators in that district. The State Board appreciates the steady governance currently being provided by Rick Sullivan and the members of the special administrative board,” Herschend said.

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