In Missouri, we allow labor union members and leaders to run for state legislature and county and municipal legislatures and sponsor laws relating to unions and the trades and services worked by union members.
We let realtors run for public office and advocate for their profession and industry from their elected position.
We don’t think it’s odd for farmers to be elected to office and champion agriculture issues.
Lawyers run for office and are expected to be experts on the judiciary, crime and punishment, civil law, and lawmaking.
But when it comes to public education, we specifically prohibit anyone involved in public education from running for school board in the district they work at.
Section 162.581 RSMO.
1. The members of the board of education… shall not hold any office, except that of notary public, in the city or state, nor be interested in any contract with or claim against the board, either directly or indirectly. If at any time after the election of any member of the board he becomes interested in any contract with or claim against the board, either directly or indirectly, or as agent or employee of any individual, firm or corporation, which is so interested, he shall thereupon be disqualified to continue as a member of the board, and shall continue to be so disqualified during the remainder of the term for which he was elected.
2. Every member of the board, before assuming the duties of his office, shall take oath before a circuit or associate circuit judge of the city, which oath shall be kept of record in the office of the board, that he possesses all the qualifications required by this section, and that he will not, while serving as a member of the board, become interested in any contract with or claim against the board, directly or indirectly, or as agent or employee of any individual, firm or corporation which is so interested, and that he will not be influenced, during his term of office, by any consideration except that of merit and fitness in the appointment of officers and the engagement of employees.
Furthermore, in Missouri, teachers have their First Amendment rights restricted with regard to their participation in school board election campaigns.
Section 168.130 RSMO. No teacher shall take part in the management of the campaign for the election or defeat of members of a board of education by which he is employed. Any teacher who violates the provisions of this section shall be subject to termination of his employment by the district with the right of a hearing and appeal as heretofore provided.
How is it possible, then, that someone who helps manage a “public” charter school is legally permitted to run for St. Louis City School Board?
Candidate Adam Layne serves on the school board for Jack Krewson’s charter school. This charter school came into being with the help of Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri, one of Rex Sinquefield’s education privatization organizations.
Being anti-public schools and part of the charter school movement does not disqualify someone from running for the City’s School Board. But surely the financial conflicts of interests in serving on a charter school board and City School Board should disqualify Adam Layne from being on Tuesday’s ballot.
“any contract with or claim against the board, directly or indirectly,” would include any difference of opinion between Layne’s charter school and the St. Louis Public Schools District on funding for charter schools.
“any contract with or claim against the board, directly or indirectly,” would include any difference of opinion between Layne’s charter school and the St. Louis Public Schools District on sale of District property to charter schools.
“any contract with or claim against the board, directly or indirectly,” would include any future difference of opinion between Layne’s charter school and the St. Louis Public Schools District on pension contributions.
Adam Layne’s charter school will take children and money away from public schools in St. Louis City. That is a fiduciary conflict of interest that should bar him from serving on the School Board.
Accreditation of the St. Louis City Public Schools should mean the end of charter school expansion. We need strong voices for strong neighborhood and magnet public schools on our School Board, not advocates for charter schools.
7th Ward Independent Democrats encourage you to vote for Dr. Joyce Roberts and Jared Opsal for School Board.
Also see Why it matters who governs America’s public schools.
— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman