JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – It’s a new day for the Missouri State Board of Education.
Months have passed since the turmoil that affected that board during Gov. Eric Greitens’ tenure, but with a new governor in place, the board is back to a stable environment and picking up the pieces.
In a public meeting held Tuesday morning, the Board swore in and welcomed its newest members, Don Claycomb, Carol Hallquist, and Kim Bailey, who had been appointed by Gov. Mike Parson and approved by the Senate last week.
The board had been left in a state of disarray due to the actions of then-Gov. Greitens, who strong-armed the ouster of then-Commissioner Margie Vandeven by stacking the board with picks. That move left many with a sour taste in their mouths, and when the time came for the Senate to vote on those picks, the senators made it clear none would receive their approval.
Amidst all of that, the board was left without a quorum, and unable to handle their business as usual.
But returning to a state of normalcy on Tuesday, the board picked up a number of issues left to deal with.
The board approved a five-year charter application for KC Girls Preparatory Academy to operate the first all-girls charter school in Kansas City, which was sponsored by the Missouri Charter Public School Commission.
The Board also on Tuesday considered the Department of Education and Secondary Education’s proposed budget for FY20. The requested fiscal outline was $6.297 billion, which marks a $140 million increase compared to the current fiscal year budget.
DESE staff also recommended an increase of $77 million to fully fund the education foundation formula.
While discussing the funding situation, Board member Mike Jones summed it up best, saying that there was no way for the public to understand how “under-resourced” K-12 education is in the state.
The board approved the proposed budget, which would include the increase for the foundation formula, $40 million more for transportation, and a $5 million increase for Parents As Teachers.
From there, the board once again took up discussion on how to move forward in their search for the next Education Commissioner, attempting to set a timeline and process on how to move forward.
Roger Dorson has been serving as the interim head since Vandeven was terminated in December.
President Charlie Shields proposed that the application process open on Sept. 19 and close on Oct. 19, with the scheduling of interviews in early November. Under his proposal, the plan is to make an offer to a candidate in late November with a potential start in January, which the Board agreed with.
Benjamin Peters was a reporter for The Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine and also produced the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined The Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield.