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Veronica O’Brien Should Resign from School Board

November 21, 2006 Education, Politics/Policy 11 Comments

The St. Louis Public Schools have many issues: low overall test scores, high drop-out rate, deteriorating buildings, high turn over rate for superintendent and a divided school board. But the most immediate problem is that of School Board President Veronica O’Brien. Admittedly, I supported her re-election to the board in 2005. I have few regrets in how I’ve voted over the years but this is certainly one of them. Thankfully I never voted for Nader so you can’t blame me for helping Bush get elected.

As a regular member I don’t think O’Brien was so divisive but perhaps I am wrong there? I’d like to think the two sides of the current board would work to find some common ground to build upon, but as long as O’Brien is around I don’t see how that is even remotely possible. O’Brien is making the whole thing about herself and what she wants — not leading a discussion about problems, coming up with solutions and as a community selecting the best resolution(s).

Ms. O’Brien — your 15 minutes are up. Next!


Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. Heather says:

    I didn’t vote for Veronica O’Brien. After witnessing her imperialistic attitude and utter disregard for others at one of the Superintendant interview meetings and at the School Board debates, I was saddened when she was voted in. These recent actions are no surprise to me and I have been waiting impatiently for someone or some way to force her out.

    Madame President, leave by the side door and take your bad attitude with you.

  2. “Thankfully I never voted for Nader so you can’t blame me for helping Bush get elected.”

    Years later, I still fail to see that connection.

  3. Craig says:


  4. Pete says:

    For the record, I concur with your assessment. In fact, I would have concurred with your assessment if you’d written it back in May.

    But I have to ask – why now?

    Looking back on Veronica’s actions over the past six months reminds me of that old saying “A leopard never changes her spots”. Whether it be the ouster of Williams, the hiring of Bourisaw, the numerous emergency board meetings, the protests by others over the lack of advance notice, information or discussion, I’m hard pressed to see what has changed – at least in terms of her behaviour.

    Regardless of your opinion of O’Brien, you’d have to acknowledge her consistency.

  5. DB says:

    How long until this idiot plays the race card? You know it’s coming…

  6. Her inconsistent message definitely warrants some type of answer. I do not see how the head of the board can act in such a childish way. Honestly, I do not have any faith in her leadership anymore. It seems drastic action must be taken to remedy the situation, therefore her resignation could be appropriate. I will be at the 7PM meeting. More to come later.

  7. Lenny says:

    Sorry Ms. O’Brien – please grow up.

    The woman angers me with her attitude of my way or else. It’s a school board not a mini kingdom for her to run.

    If you want protection – hire it yourself. The school district’s money should not be spent hiring a body guard for you.

    Also I understand wanting your kids to get a good education – but when you’re a member of a school board – your kids should be going to a school in that district (not Clayton!)

    Can school board members be recalled?

  8. GMichaud says:

    What is sad is the blatant abuse of power she exhibits. Ironically it is exactly what happens with other elected officials in St. Louis. They are just better at hiding it. If you imagine her actions and variations of these actions as the modus operandi for other officials it is not hard to see why St. Louis struggles to make the correct decisions. It is also clear why democracy and public involvement of the citizens is not popular among officials.
    Veronica O’Brien should go. Unfortunately so should many other people. Actually the situation is not unlike the Baath Party in Iraq. The slate was wiped clean, but then there was no one who knew how to run the government. A fresh start would be nice though. What a luxury it would be for St. Louisians to breath fresh political air.
    A good start is the resignation of Veronica O’Brien.

  9. Nader? says:

    I get the Nader comment. Whether we like it or not, our government operates with two parties. As it is set up now third parties can’t get off the ground and they either die away or are absorbed into the one of the main two parties. The problem with third parties is that their platforms wind up being mostly to the left or the right of the main two parties, who in turn take the center positions. Most people are somewhere in the middle, so those parties are going to remain in power. The middle does have its own spectrum though…from left to right. While a third party will most likely never win a major election, they do have the ability to take away the voters on the edges of that center spectrum. Since they can’t get that center they will never win, but when a race is close they can take enough voters off the edges to cause one of the two main parties to lose. While I don’t believe in the idea that you can throw away a vote, voting for a third party in a major election is as close as it gets. Yes this system is flawed, but it’s the system that we have, and since this system is controlled by the two main parties, I don’t see it changing soon. Voting for a third party is only going to draw votes away from a candidate that actually has a chance to win, and who of the two parties, most resembles your beliefs.

  10. RL'E says:

    Wow! Maybe what is going on is that Mrs. O’Brien really wants to have the job of superintendent herself? For the life of me I cannot figure out her M.O.

    The sad part here is the poor children, teachers and other educational staff that get up everyday and try to make something happen in the SLPS. I have plenty of friends who have positive experiences to report with their children being in the magnet schools, so much so I started planning for my children to enroll. Not anymore. I am sitting this out. I have one more year to think about middle school and I am hoping that in that time we see some real progress: 1. Veronica O’Brien resigns; 2. The plan that was initiated last year be re-implemented and carried out.

    I do have one question: A colleague told me that if the SLPS loses accredition, those that send their children to non-public schools can claim the tuition as a full tax write-off. I guess this is a question for a CPA but I am just curious.


  11. Joe Frank says:

    “A colleague told me that if the SLPS loses accredition, those that send their children to non-public schools can claim the tuition as a full tax write-off.”

    I’m no CPA, but that does not sound accurate. In an un-accredited district, under NCLB and relevant state law, you are supposed to have the option of attending an adjacent public school district (in the same state of course) for free, if there are openings and possibly subject to DESE approval.

    For example, Wellston kids can go to U City, Normandy, or SLPS, because the district is unaccredited.

    What districts are adjacent to SLPS?
    Riverview Gardens
    University City
    Maplewood-Richmond Heights
    Webster Groves
    Hancock Place

    If you can get into Clayton or Webster, great. Otherwise, I don’t see much point in that option.


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