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Veronica O’Brien Should Resign Effective Immediately

January 31, 2007 Education, Politics/Policy 25 Comments

IMG_3776.jpg I’m done with St. Louis School Board President Veronica O’Brien. The school system has many differences of opinion and issues to resolve and her presence is only complicating matters. The school board president, in my view, should be the leader that all respect to help guide the district through the rough times. Veronica O’Brien is not that person.

So, I’m asking her to resign as President effective immediately. I’m asking all of you to do the same by signing an online petition I have created. Click here to read the petition, sign if you agree.

UPDATE 1/31/2007 @ 9:30am – I have verified that current SLPS VP Bill Purdy has signed the petition (#7).

UPDATE 1/31/2007 @ 1pm – Fox 2 has interviewed me regarding this issue, look for the story in the 5pm-6:30pm time slot. Also, just to clarify — I am asking that she resign as President of the board, not necessarily resigning from the board altogether. I belive we need one of the other members to step up and show leadership where Ms. O’Brien has not. Added image to post from press conference announcing Dr. Bourisaw as acting superintendent on July 17, 2006.

UPDATE 1/31/2007 @ 2:30pm — Further reading:

Suburban Journals:

PubDef Weekly:


Currently there are "25 comments" on this Article:

  1. stlmark says:

    Thanks for putting your thoughts and opinions to action. I signed the petition.

  2. DB says:

    Personally, I think she may be mentally ill.

    Not only should she resign, but she should seek help.

  3. dna says:

    She looks like she is going through some type of mental illness, I don’t know if it is manic or depression. She needs to step down.

  4. TGD says:

    There was a lot of covert sniffing and sneezing during the meeting last night as she spoke, as if to say she is doing…what? Also, her new nickname is evidently “iPod”.

  5. BAM says:

    Please stop this petition. If she resigns, her replacement will be appointed–by Mayor Slay.

    And he might appoint someone clever.

  6. I think BAM is correct, Mayor Slay would name her replacement.
    Does anyone know the law on this ?

    [UrbanReviewSTL — I am asking her to resign as “President” of the board, not necessarily resign from the board.  In other words, step down as President and let the members elect a new President.]

  7. LisaS says:

    that’s how we got Ms. O’Brien in the first place: Slay appointed her to fill an empty spot.


  8. Cletus says:

    Can anyone think of someone worse that Slay could name? The person would have to be willing to commit political suicide if they planned to come on the board and behave as Ms. O’Brien has behaved.

  9. Matt B says:

    Who elected her Board President?

    Didn’t her elevation come with the new board majority led by Purdy, Downs and Jones?

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Well, technically the majority as of April 2006 elected her President.  It was new then but since it is hard to say who has a majority.  O’Brien, Jackson and Archibald are currently a group while Purdy, Downs and Jones remain pretty much in lock step.  That leaves Flint Fowler determining which group has the majority.  Perhaps Purdy, Downs, Jones and Fowler could vote to replace O’Brien as President.]

  10. Steven Geldmacher says:

    I should have read the petition before I commented.
    I signed the petition.

  11. awb says:

    It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when voters of this city don’t trust the mayor to appoint a replacement to the school board, especially when he would be replacing a detriment to progress like Ms. O’Brien.

    When will the mayor publicly accept his responsibility for inflicting this nightmare on citizens, teachers, parents, other school board members, and, most of all, the students?

  12. Cletus says:

    Board bylaws require a 2/3rds majority of board members to vote to depose the board president and elect a new one. If Downs, Jones, Purdy and Fowler voted to do so, it would still fall short of the number of votes needed. There was an article in the South City Journal about it not long ago.

  13. stephen says:

    i haved watched this great city go to hell these past 55 years.this idiot needs to resign.i am waiting for her to use the race card.she,s a joke.in the past 25 years the black people have destroyed this city and the county is next.remember there anthom no justice no peace,oj is innocent,and on and on.
    stand back and watch people they will finish the job.

  14. Becker says:

    It is inaccurate to state that “O’Brien, Jackson and Archibald are currently a group”. This in only the case in reagrds to their opinion that the state should take over. Archibald has been fighting O’Brien on almost every issue for over a year now.

    Please state of Missouri…take over. Both the board and the “voters” have shown themselves incapable of of bringing on anything but failure.

  15. GMichaud says:

    The real question should be whether the state has the ability to run the schools. If you look at their record, the coming Hwy 40 debacle, the Wellston School system, health care etc etc., they are not exactly enlightened dictators. In fact any real analysis of their work would reveal failures as great as or even greater than the SLPS.
    There is no real evidence that the state will do any better.

    The underlying problem with schools continues to be ignored. That is the physical and economic environments the children come from do not cultivate success in the classroom. A study of failing schools across America will find similar depressed environments affecting children.

    O’Brien is clearly self centered and a terrible leader. The motives of Slay and Callow are more related to power and money than the welfare of the children.

    Whether or not O’Brien resigns the natural political process should be allowed to take place. That means voting for new ideas and new people on the board.

    In the end it is the short sighted greed of a culture that refuses to rebuild the environments surrounding these children that dooms the educational system in the City of St. Louis.

    There is plenty of money for stadiums, for BallPark Villages, for Pyramid Company giveaways at St. Louis Centre, but precious few resources grace the souls of the youth in urban environments.

    What resources there are have been cut by the state, and now tax credits that has helped build affordable housing will be handed over to Mohela and Ameren UE. (Article in Business Journal) This means resources that helped communities will no longer be available, and communities equal children.

    So the state should not take over anything, in their own way they are as bad as Veronica O’Brien. Yes O’Brien should quit, quit the board, not its chairmanship.

    A house cleaning of the whole political system is what is really needed, many, many resignations and changes.

  16. John Bobbit says:

    To Becker,

    You obviously haven’t attended many board meetings in the last several months. O’Brien, Jackson and Archibald vote together on almost everything. Downs, Purdy and Jones vote the opposite. Fowler is the swing vote.
    Purdy has much to learn about governing a school district for the children and not the teachers/union. However, I’ll take him and O’Brien (two votes out of seven) with five other board members who care (after the replacement of two through election) over state takeover any time.

  17. “I want to take a minute out of my own campaign to advocate the re-election of Veronica O’Brien to the St. Louis School Board … I can say she is responsive and professional. She is also a smart businesswoman. I have every confidence she is what the School Board needs to elevate our schools to an acceptable level.”

    Steve Patterson, 2/21/2005

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Yes, those are my words from almost 2 years ago.  As an insurance agent she seemed quite different.  I addressed this issue back in November when I wrote: “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”]

  18. Jim Zavist says:

    Can you say “stealth candidate”? Candidates with obvious agendas are easy to vote for or against. Candidates that aren’t properly vetted by the press, parties and the voters can and do get elected are then free to proceed with any hidden agenda they may have. This is just another argument for making sure well-qualified candidates get elected to positions in ALL levels of government . . .

  19. holly hills parent says:

    I heard that Jim Shrewsbury is going around trying to get the Kent King commission to take over the schools. That means that Shrewsbury and Slay will be able to appoint Bob Archibald and Ron Jackson to the new 3 person board. So, it probably won’t really matter whether she steps down as President or not once Shrewsbury has his hands on the schools.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Your claim is not something I can verify.  I have a feeling more than one elected official is quietly working behind the scenes either for a takeover or against a takeover.   Shrewsbury has stated he would appoint someone not associated with the current school mess — his statements are on record (and video) so he’d have a hard time explaining appointing either Archibald or Jackson.]

  20. Susan Turk says:

    Steve, It is not productive to waste energy asking Veronica to resign. Nice publicity stunt for you though.

    She isn’t going to resign. But in June her term is up officially. Remember democracy? I know it is an exotic life form in St. Louis soon to become extinct as far as public school governance is concerned but the way it works is people get elected. The position of president of the board of education is a one year renewable position. The school board votes for its officers annually at its June meeting unless the office is vacated before then. I am not familiar with the school board’s by-laws but I suspect there is provision for removing an officer before their term is up. There will be a school board election in April. Whether the school board still has any power in April over the district is another matter but they will still have power over who their officers are. After the April election, depending on who wins, Veronica will or will not remain as president. In other words, if you want her out as president of the board the most effective way to do that is to work to get candidates elected who will vote her out of that position. I can guarantee you that Katie Wessling and David Jackson will vote to replace her.

    You can plead with Veronica to resign til Mayor Slay decides that elected school boards are best or til hell freezes over, your pick, and waste your breathe or you can make sure people win the school board election who will take care of Veronica for you. That’s a better use of your time and breathe if you ask me.

    Susan Turk

  21. Brian says:

    I would love for this to have any bearing in reality but I ask you in all earnesness… What does democracy have to do anymore with the situation of the Saint Louis Public School Board. I am still in shock and am having trouble understanding what power we have now to fix the current problems given the DESE decision today. So this is what a corporate hostile take over feels like… Hmmm.

  22. Larry says:

    So who are you all giving those signatures to? Please people this means nothing. I suspect O’Brien is going to end up being the winner and you all wil again look like fools

  23. Bill says:

    Steve you have issues

    [UrbanReviewSTL — I have issues?  I’m not the one posting as “Larry” and then immediately posting again as “Bill”.]

  24. dubai says:

    Reminds me of the public speaking class i attend to last time reasoning like that is called the “false cause fallacy.

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