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Ferguson-Florissant Supt. Resigns Prior to Hearings; How will McCoy’s Resignation Affect April Election?

By Bob Lindsey

Former Ferguson-Florisssant superintendent Art McCoy and the school board’s somewhat surprising announcement on Wednesday, March 12 of his resignation could make the upcoming school board races even more interesting.

McCoy and the school board issued a joint signed statement that McCoy was resigning effect March 14. It read: “It is mutually agreed and understood that full resolution of these matters is in the best interests of the Ferguson-Florissant School District. To those who have framed the issues as racially motivated, the parties are satisfied that each acted in good faith and with the best interests of the Ferguson-Florissant School District in mind.”

At Wednesday night’s council meeting there were a few comments about the resignation from board members. Board member Brian Little was the only one who voted against approving the agreement. Speaking at the meeting, he said he objected to just a “four line” statement issued by the board. “I believe the students, district and community deserve more than that, “he said and, “I’m deeply sorry” there was not more from the board. Board president Paul Morris said, by law, all “personnel records are secret and can’t be revealed.”

Outgoing board member Chris Martinez, who is not seeking reelection next month, “counted 11 sentences” attributed to McCoy on the matter that appeared on Missouri Public Radio (MPR). He said he learned about McCoy’s comments to MPR after “we got a signed mutual agreement.” He wished the former superintendent “great things” in his next position.  McCoy is in the running for presidency at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

McCoy had been on paid suspension since last November. Parents and others had rallied around the superintendent late last year, which prompted a slate of three African-American candidates called “Grade A For Change” to run for the school board. They initially were concerned about the removing of a black superintendent by a school board with no African-American representation in a district with a majority of black students.

A hearing was to be held on Wednesday, March 12 and Thursday, March 13 to allow McCoy to answer to charges from the board on the suspension.  The hearing was planned for March 12 at 5:30 p.m., and was to be continued at the meeting on March 13  The hearing would have been closed to the public and  media. With McCoy resigning before the hearing could be held, the school board cannot make the charges against McCoy public even if it planned to. However, there was no indication that the board would have ever made them public.

Still to be determined is what impact these latest events will have on the district school board races on Tuesday, Aug. 8. The slate of three candidates (F. Willis Johnson, Jr., Donna Paulette-Thurman and James A. Savala) who call themselves “Grade A for Change” had supported the superintendent.

They are among the eight candidates for the school board on Tuesday, April 8. Other candidates include incumbent board president Paul T. Morris and director Rob Chabot. The other three candidates are LaWanda Wallace, Kimberley A. Benz and Larry Thomas. (Bios on all the candidate will appear in the April 3rd issue of The Independent News)


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