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Riverview Gardens schools to be state-run

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – The state of Missouri is taking over another St. Louis-area school district.

The State Board of Education today voted unanimously to create a three-person state-run board to oversee the Riverview Gardens School District in North County. The district lost accreditation nearly three years ago based primarily on poor academic performance.

Robert Taylor is the St. Louis area supervisor for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). He says one of their top priorities will be finding talented people to run the Riverview Gardens District.

"Principals, central office, will need to be looked at...I think that is the first issue that needs to be attacked and it will be attacked," Taylor said.

Chris Nicastro, who once served as Riverview Gardens Superintendent, says her staff will assist in screening job candidates.

Dr. Clive Coleman, who was hired by the district's elected board to be superintendent, could be retained by the state-run board once it's in place.

Stan Archie of Kansas City is a State Board of Education member who has been critical of the state takeover of the St. Louis Public School district in 2007. He says, though, that the approach to Riverview Gardens appears to be much brighter.

"(It) looks like we're going in concerned about the kids," Archie said. "It looks like at the end of the day at some point when we figure out the right formula, and we put the right people in place, it looks like we haven't taken on this task as a permanent job."