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Chappelle-Nadal Calls For Nicastro's Resignation

Mo. Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education
DESE Commissioner Chris Nicastro

A Missouri State senator has filed a remonstrance that calls for the immediate resignation of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro.

A remonstrance is a formal statement of protest but one with no force of authority or punitive actions.  The one filed Tuesday accuses Nicastro of misleading lawmakers and education officials in her role as DESE commissioner.  In particular, it accuses her of favoritism in hiring the consulting firm CEE-Trust to improve Kansas City schools and of advising the backers of an initiative petition to revamp teacher tenure.  The remonstrance is sponsored by state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City.

"In the 14 years I've been in this building, I have never known an administrator to deceive a public body, ever," Chappelle-Nadal said.  "It does not matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican, when you practice deception, you don't belong here -- you don't belong in the state of Missouri where people are paying you to serve them!"

Chappelle-Nadal has been a vocal critic of Nicastro. She had already prefiled two pieces of legislation, one a constitutional amendmentand the other a law, which would give the Missouri Senate the power to remove the education commissioner and prevent any reappointment.

In response to the remonstrance, Nicastro says she has great respect for Chappelle-Nadal.

"I'm very disappointed (by the remonstrance)," Nicastro said Tuesday.  "I've tried repeatedly to meet with Sen. Chappelle-Nadal to discuss her concerns and have been unsuccessful at getting that done…I would look forward to that opportunity."

So far, the remonstrance has only been read into the Senate record.  It could also be approved by votes held in committee and by the full Senate.  It also calls for Nicastro to be fired by the State Board of Education if she chooses not to resign.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.