Missouri Board of Education expected to vote next week on fate of state’s top school leader

The meeting to decide whether to replace Missouri’s top school leader appears to be set for next week.

The State Board of Education will hold a closed meeting Nov. 21 in the Jefferson State Office Building in Jefferson City to discuss the “hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting of employees” of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

School officials expect the meeting will be about the employment of Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven. Gov. Eric Greitens has indicated he wants to replace Vandeven through appointments he has made to the State Board in the past five months.

Several Republican and Democrat state senators and Missouri’s major statewide education organizations condemn the governor’s maneuver, saying it’s rushed and irresponsible because none of Greitens’ appointees have been confirmed by the Senate yet, as required by state law.

On Friday, the day after Greitens’ appointees gained a five-member majority on the board necessary to remove Vandeven, three of these new members requested a special closed meeting. A regular board meeting was already set for Nov. 30.

At least three board members have expressed concerns about Greitens’ plans, including one of Greitens’ own appointees, Tim Sumners of Joplin. Missouri’s major education organizations — including the Missouri School Boards’ Association, Missouri Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers-Missouri and Missouri National Education Association — also object to Greitens’ attempt to oust Vandeven.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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