By Kristen Taketa
Filing begins Tuesday for about 70 school board positions that are up for grabs in St. Louis and St. Louis County in the April 4 municipal election.
Perhaps no other board election will be so closely watched and contentious as that for St. Louis Public Schools, which has three positions open on the seven-member board.
Those positions are currently occupied by Board President Susan Jones and members Bill Monroe and Kathy Styer.
The district is run by an appointed, three-member Special Administrative Board while its elected board sits by, meeting monthly with no powers.
But talks of the inevitable transition from the Special Administrative Board to the elected one will probably resume soon after the April election, said Victor Lenz, vice president of the state board of education. Meanwhile, the state board will consider granting the district full accreditation on Jan. 10, a vote that would probably heighten the urgency for transition talks.
Neither state law nor the state board of education has dictated when the transition should happen and how, even as the district appears to inch closer to regaining full accreditation. The last effort to set any transition terms fell apart in August when Monroe tried to crash a meeting between state and local school board members.
State and local education officials are looking for a stable elected board to which they can confidently hand back control of the district. The board as it is has been infamous for its dysfunction and infighting.
“Somewhere down the line that board should be taking over the schools again, and we need a strong school board that is most interested in what is good for kids,” Lenz said.
Candidates for the St. Louis Public Schools board must be at least 24 years old, be a U.S. citizen and resident of St. Louis city for at least three years, not hold any office except as a notary public in Missouri or St. Louis, and not be an interested party in any contract with or claim against the board of education either directly or indirectly, among other requirements.
Candidates must pay a $100 fee when filing at the city’s Board of Election Commissioners office at 300 North Tucker Boulevard.
Candidates for other Missouri school districts must be a U.S. citizen, at least 24 years old, a Missouri resident of at least a year and a resident taxpayer of the district. Filing is usually done at a school district’s administrative office.
Candidate filing starts at 8 a.m. Tuesday and ends Jan. 17 at 5 p.m.