By Thursday- Send Letters Of Support For Elected School Board

schoolBy Thursday, January 11th, 2018: Please send letter of support for Elected School Board, transition from Appointed Special Administrative Board back to Elected Board, to either the SAB directly (address below) or to AFT (stopping@stltu.org), which is collecting letters for delivery to AFT. Here is the letter that I emailed.
Task Force on Alternative Governance
Special Administrative Board
801 N 11th
Saint Louis, Missouri 63101January 9, 2018

Dear Task Force Members:

I ask that you support return of governance for St. Louis Public Schools to our Elected School Board.

Governance of a school district by an appointed board is taxation without representation. Children are taught in our public schools that taxation without representation is wrong and led to the American Revolution. It was wrong in the 18th Century and it is wrong today.

As someone who attended one of the special meetings by the Task Force, my read on the room was it was overwhelmingly supportive of returning control of our schools to our Elected Board.

As an elected Democratic Committeewoman, I can tell you that voters in my ward overwhelming support our schools being governed by our elected School Board.

As someone who has spent considerable time in rural Missouri, I can also tell you that drama and financial intrigue happens to school districts big and small, urban and rural districts alike. The solution, for all districts, is better training for Board members to ensure excellence in their oversight of our tax dollars and education of children.

Please support the people of St. Louis City as we call upon you, in a loud, commanding, but respectful voice, to give our schools back to us, the voters.

Marie Ceselski
7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman
1911 S 11th
Saint Louis, Missouri 63104

Advertisements

Please Join Me @ Monday’s School Board Meeting & Demand An Elected Board

notaxationwithoutrepresentationSLPS (Appointed) Special Administrative Board
Meeting On Future Governance Of St. Louis Public Schools
6:30 pm Monday, November 13th, 2017
Northwest Law Academy, 5140 Riverview
Topic: SLPS Governance by Hybrid Appointed Board (appointed by Mayor, Governor, etc.) with some Elected Board Members
Public Invited
Event webpage

Future meetings… 6:30 pm Monday, November 20th, 2017- Location to TBA This will be the meeting where the SAB task force on alternative forms of governance will deliberate in public on the report and recommendation they will make to the SAB.

Related news/articles…

11/10/2017 St. Louis Post-DispatchResearcher’s positive findings on appointed school boards fail to sway St. Louis crowd

11/7/2017 St. Louis AmericanCommunity calls for elected school board

11/7/2017 St. Louis Post-DispatchSpeakers tell task force that elected school board is best option for St. Louis

11/6/2017 St. Louis Public RadioPhilosophy versus performance: Who should govern St. Louis Public Schools?

11/2/2017 St. Louis AmericanSLPS seeks input about future governance

10/27/2017 St. Louis American, Column by Elected School Board President Susan Jones: Transition to an elected SLPS board should begin now

–Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

Vote No On Proposition 1

Take a stand against the unethical campaign by St. Louis Public School District’s Special Administrative Board. Vote No on Proposition 1.

Don’t Support Taxation Without Representation. Vote No on Proposition 1.

Don’t Trust the St. Louis Public School District’s Special Administrative Board to spend more of your tax dollars. Vote No on Proposition 1.


prop1ballot

Numerous complaints have been filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission (by 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman Marie Ceselski, 15th Ward Democratic Committeewoman Missy Pinkerton McDaniel, possibly others) regarding violations of campaign finance and election laws by the St. Louis Public Schools District and its Special Administrative Board.

  • SLPS/SAB has used school district funds and resources to support the property tax increase campaign.
  • SLPS/SAB has failed to properly report expenditures made on behalf of the campaign and properly report who paid for campaign expenditures.

SLPSDmec1bSLPSSABmec1b

Even after the SAB was informed of those two complaints and more, it continues to spend public funds on the campaign. Voters received several mailers identified as paid for by the SLPS but “for informational and educational purposes” and “not intended to advocate, support, or oppose Proposition 1.” In reality, they were advocacy pieces. If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, it’s a duck.

SLPS continues to use staff and resources, including its website to push for passage of Proposition 1.

Under normal circumstances, MEC would have already rendered a judgment against SLPS/SAB. Unfortunately for taxpayers and voters across Missouri, the terms of three of six members of MEC expired March 15 and there is no quorum to conduct business.

“Tuesday’s municipal elections across Missouri are being conducted in an ethics-free zone,” wrote Tony Messenger in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A vote against Proposition 1 is a vote against an unethical campaign that may never be held accountable because of a massive system failure.


The voters of St. Louis City elect a Board of Education to govern the St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS). Our elected school board, however, has no power over policy or budget of the SLPS.

Instead, SLPS is currently governed by a three member Special Administrative Board appointed by the Governor, St. Louis City Mayor, and City Board of Aldermen President. The SAB is not accountable to voters. Voters had no say in the change and cannot undo it.

This year the SLPS qualified for full accreditation, the first step toward returning control of our schools back to our elected board. The Missouri School Board, however, trusts the SAB more than an elected board to run things and in January extended the stay of the SAB by at least three years.

Your vote against Proposition 1 is a vote against taxation without representation.


The ballot issue says the proposed new revenue would be spent, in part, on “competitive salaries” for “teachers and staff.” Staff could very well mean administrators, more people with fancy titles. Staff could mean hiring someone to run another unethical campaign, maybe next time a slate of candidates for school board.

Your vote against Proposition 1 is a No Confidence Vote against the Special Administrative Board.


Do our public schools need more money? Yes.

Are there people we respect that support Proposition 1? Yes.

Are either reason enough to vote for it. No.

Please join 7th Ward Independent Democrats and 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman Marie Ceselski and Vote No on Proposition 1 this Tuesday, April 5th.

I Will Not Endorse An Illegal Campaign

Updated 2/16/2016 The Missouri Sate Board of Education today decided that the Special Administrative Board should control St. Louis Public Schools for another three years. Yes. The same board violating Missouri Ethics Laws will remain in charge of our schools, not our elected board.
———-

I believe every child has a right to a quality education in public schools paid for with tax dollars.

I believe good teachers should be among the most valued and best paid of occupations.

I am, in general, in favor of raising taxes to accomplish both. I will not, however, support an illegal campaign to raise taxes for St. Louis Public Schools.

By Monday, February 8th, members of the St. Louis City Democratic Central Committee, ward committeemen and committeewomen, received a solicitation from the St. Louis Public Schools Special Administrative Board (SAB) asking for our endorsements of Proposition 1 to raise property taxes for public schools.

SAB1SAB2SAB3The first thing that I noticed from the mailing is that a copy of the actual ballot measure was not enclosed. We were being asked to endorse the proposal based on what the SAB said it would do. That did not sit right with me.

The second thing that I noticed was the use of “Proposition 1” by the SAB for the ballot. That did not sit right with me. The City of St. Louis also has a Proposition 1 for the same April 5th election, a bond issue which will not raise taxes.

Then I noticed there was no “Paid for by” on the SAB letter, endorsement form, or envelope, and that the campaign was using resources paid for with tax dollars to advocate for the ballot issue, both violations of Missouri Ethics Laws.

There was a conversation about this mailing on Twitter between 7th Ward Committeeman Brian Wahby, 15th Ward Committeewoman Missy Pinkerton McDaniel, and others.

I entered the conversation on Tuesday, February 9th, after the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation declared no public funds were being used.
SAB4
That prompted a call to me on my landline phone from Rachel Seward, Deputy Superintendent of Institutional Advancement, St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS). Ms. Seward’s message was that the mailing had erroneously left off the “Paid for by” disclaimer, a new mailing was going out to correct the previous, and the campaign was being funded by a Political Action Committee.

I returned the phone call and told Ms. Seward that sticking “Paid for by” a PAC on the SAB/St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) stationary would not have made the mailing legal; the use of SLPS resources including staff had tainted the campaign; and the SAB needed to pull the issue off the ballot. She listened and said she would pass along my concerns.

Let me be clear here. This is not an “oops” moment. It’s a “we got caught” moment. Local government entities, particularly school boards, frequently have complaints filed against them with the Missouri Ethics Commission on use of public resources to advocate for ballot issues.

I have not received the promised correction mailing from a PAC. Perhaps the SAB is waiting to see if someone actually files a complaint against them.

It gets worse. According to a January 26th article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the SLPS hired a campaign manager “to develop, coordinate and supervise the tax campaign at a cost of $60,000,” another clear violation of Missouri Ethics Laws.

And this comes from the SAB, not our elected School Board stripped of its powers to run the SLPS District. The SAB is appointed by Governor Jay Nixon, Mayor Francis Slay, and Board President Lewis Reed. According to St. Louis Public Radio, Tuesday, the State School Board is poised to retain the SAB and not return control of our public schools to voters, retain an unaccountable, unelected board that currently is violating Missouri Ethics laws.

As I said, I want to support our public schools with more funding. I postponed blogging about this last week because there was a fundraiser for a nearby public elementary school and I didn’t want to detract from it.

But I will not, cannot, support a ballot issue for public schools that begins by breaking the law. I do not care who tells me this was all a series of mistakes now being corrected. The damage is done. I have no reason to believe that if I endorsed this school tax levy, another violation of state law will not happen. The best thing for everyone would be for the SAB to remove school levy hike from the ballot and start clean another time.

– Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman