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Study suggests mayoral control for St. Louis schools

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The same group that recently suggested a way to replace St. Louis City's earnings tax is now releasing a study on the city schools.

The Show-Me Institute compares districts where school boards run things with cities where mayors control the schools.

Cities like Boston and Chicago are seen as successes where schools improved when mayors took over. But Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute says Washington D.C.'s recent experiment seems not to have worked.

Still, with all of St. Louis's turmoil, Hess concludes mayoral control is worth looking at because it would make one person accountable.

"The trick in thinking about this is not to figure that there's any silver bullets but to think about is this likely to take shape in St. Louis in a way that's better than the current school board situation," Hess said, in an interview.

Hess's report does not address whether state control would be better for the district, which is the debate currently being had in Missouri. Also, an article in the Post-Dispatch points out that state law currently forbids mayors from taking control of school district.