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Mo. Supreme Court upholds state-appointed school board

The Missouri Supreme Court
The Missouri Supreme Court

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The legal battle surrounding the state takeover of St. Louis public schools is over.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the State Board of Education acted properly when it removed authority from the elected St. Louis School Board and gave it to a three-person, appointed transitional board.

That action took place in 2007 after the St. Louis School District lost its accreditation.

Peter Downs, president of the elected school board, is disappointed with the ruling.

"I think this cements the decision to put private profit ahead of the education of the kids in the school district, because I think that was the real motive in the Commission of Education taking away the accreditation and power of the elected school board," Downs said.

Attorneys for the elected school board had argued that the state violated its own rules because it was determined to take over the St. Louis School District.

But all seven Missouri Supreme Court judges disagreed.

Jim Morris is spokesman for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

"We're gratified that the process we used to evaluate the St. Louis School District and to support the decision to de-accredit the school district was valid," Morris said.

The appointed school board is also moving forward with long range plans to cut costs and upgrade student performance.

Those plans are expected to include the closing of more public schools in St. Louis.