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Researching for the General Election April 2, 2019

March 22, 2019 Education, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Researching for the General Election April 2, 2019

I’m preparing to mail in my absentee ballot for next month’s general election. Yes, another election. Remember, last month was just so the various political parties could select their nominee. Next month nominees will face each other in the general.

At least they would if we didn’t live in a one party city.

It continues to be foolish why continue having a partisan primary followed by an even lower turnout general election.   The democratic nominees for president of the board of aldermen and the 14 even-numbered wards will all win, only a few have any marginal challenge.

But on the upcoming ballot is two open school board seats, one junior college trustee seat, and a proposition. See sample ballot.

St. Louis Public Schools headquarters, 801 N 11th

SCHOOL BOARD

Seven candidates for two school board seats:

  • ADAM LAYNE
  • DAVID MERIDETH
  • LOUIS CLINTON CROSS, III
  • BARBARA ANDERSON
  • WILLIAM [BILL] HAAS
  • TRACEE A. MILLER
  • DAN MCCREADY

This election is more important than many prior school board elections.

Seven candidates are running for the St. Louis Board of Education next month. It’s very likely those elected to the board on April 2 will be handed back power over St. Louis Public Schools later this year. After nearly 12 years of state control, the state school board is expected to vote to reinstate the elected board in April.
(St. Louis Public Radio — recommended)

None of the seven are incumbents. I’m still researching, I’ve eliminated three so far. The West End Word has a brief summary of all 7 here. Vote411 has info here.

JUNIOR COLLEGE (only applies to some city voters)

  • PAULA M. SAVARINO
  • ANNE ADAMS MARSHALL

Vote411 has info on both here.

PROPOSITION S

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Proposition S
Simple majority required.

Ballot wording: Shall the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) charge a Stormwater Capital Rate upon all customers, whether public or private, within the District based on the amount of impervious area on the real property of each customer for the purpose of providing revenue to fund capital improvements for flooding and erosion control, as set forth in the following schedule? Single-family Residential (per month) for the following tiers, Tier 1 (200-2,000 sq. ft. of impervious area) $1.42 Tier 2 (2,001-3,600 sq. ft. of impervious area) $2.25 Tier 3 (3,601-6,000 sq. ft. of impervious area) $3.74 Tier 4 (over 6,000 sq. ft. of impervious area) $6.84 Commercial and Multi-Family Residential (per month) $2.25 per 2,600 sq. ft. of impervious area.

Summary:  The measure would allow the district to impose a new stormwater charge to generate money to addressing local and regional flooding and stream erosion that threaten structures, roads or yards. The charge would be based on the amount of a property’s surface area that does not absorb rainwater. Funds would be used for property buyouts, rain scaping, natural creek bank stabilization, stormwater drainage systems and other improvements. All public and private property in MSD’s service area, including properties owned by governmental or nonprofit entities and those not receiving MSD wastewater services, would be subject to this charge.  If passed, the charge would raise $30 million annually and the average residential property owner would pay an additional $27 per year. 

Proponents say that the increased revenue is necessary to address local and regional flooding, erosion issues and to improve water quality for stormwater. They also say that the proposed rate imposes a fair and reasonable burden on all classes of ratepayers with an incentive system. Opponents say that there are no detailed engineering plans on the proposed projects and that there is insufficient funding for the projects proposed. They also say that the projects are not required by any regulation or law. (Vote411)

No clue how I’m going to vote on this.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

St. Louis’ First Public School Opened 180 Years Ago Today

April 2, 2018 Education, Featured, History/Preservation Comments Off on St. Louis’ First Public School Opened 180 Years Ago Today
Couldn’t find an image of the first school, so here’d an early school:
Dumas Public School was located on Lucas just west of 14th, all razed when 14th was extended to Washington. Sanborn map via UMSL Digital Library

Free public education in St. Louis began 180 years ago today — 74 years after the city was founded:

The city was founded by the French in Spanish territory in 1764. French fur traders Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau founded St. Louis on high land just below the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. (Explore St. Louis)

The city’s population in 1830 was 4,977, but by 1840 was 16,469:

The children of St. Louis responded for the first time to the call of a public school bell. Private schools had long operated in the city, but until the Spring of 1838 there was no free general education. Land grants for schools were provided through the Louisiana cession and a board of school trustees was formed in 1817.Confusion over titles of the so-called “school lands” delayed the establishment of a school for several years. In 1831 a new school board was organized under an act of the Missouri legislature, and in 1837 plans were completed for two schoolhouses.

The first, Laclede Primary School at Fourth and Spruce streets, opened its doors April 2, providing elementary education for both boys and girls, and requiring tuition only from those who could afford to pay. The second school opened a few days later, and in 1841 the Benton School followed. Male teachers received a salary of $900 per year and female teachers received $500. (St. Louis Day by Day by Francis Hurd Stadler, page 62)

Well. poor white kids were now getting a basic education in this time before the Civil War. Keep in mind St. Louis University was founded two decades earlier, in 1818 — so only those who could afford private schools would’ve attended for decades. Washington University in St. Louis, also private, was founded 15 years after the first public school, in 1853.

I wanted to know more so I began searching:

In July 1837, the board agreed to build two school buildings, known as the North School and the South School, respectively located at the northeast corner of Broadway and Martin Luther King Boulevard (then Cherry Street) and at the southwest corner of 4th and Spruce streets. In December, the board met to purchase supplies and to interview potential teachers, and by March 1838, they had selected two candidates, David Armstrong and Miss M.H. Salisbury. The South School, later named Laclede Primary School, opened on April 1, 1838, with Edward Leavy and Sarah Hardy as co-principals.A third school, later named Benton School, opened in January 1842 at the northwest corner of 6th and Locust. The North School, for which the Board initially could not find a teacher, was abandoned and sold shortly after construction of Benton School due to the encroachment of a nearby market.

With the growth of the city, the school building campaign continued at a rapid pace. Between 1840 and 1860, more than twenty new schools were built by the Board, while several others occupied rented space. Among these new schools was the first high school in St. Louis, which opened inside Benton School in February 1853. Approximately 70 students enrolled in the school, and its first principal was Jeremiah D. Low. Courses offered included higher arithmetic, grammar and composition, basic and advanced algebra, geometry, trigonometry, surveying, navigation, and the Latin and German languages. The high school proved very popular among all social classes, and it encouraged attendance at lower level schools. After two years of construction, the first high school building, known as Central High School, opened on Olive Street in July 1855.

In 1848 William Greenleaf Eliot, the Unitarian clergyman in Saint Louis, was elected chair of the school board. He had a passion for creating schools. He and his congregants worked on a campaign to fund the expanding district. Only weeks after the St. Louis Fire of 1849, St. Louis voters approved a 1/10 percent property tax to support the district, and three years later, the Missouri General Assembly passed a school tax, which set aside 25 percent of state funds for education and provided schools with money depending on their enrollment. During the 1850s, it became a St. Louis school tradition for students at each school to “go a Maying”, which was to take an excursion into the countryside.[29] These early field trips were more for recreation than for learning, but school administrators regarded them as healthy trips.

School closed six weeks early in 1861 due to a lack of operating funds and the outbreak of the Civil War. After the Civil War, in 1866, the district opened three schools for African American students.

The St. Louis Public Schools also opened the first public high school for black students west of the Mississippi, Sumner High School, in 1875.

St. Louis Public Schools opened the first public kindergarten in North America in 1873 under the direction of William Torrey Harris, then Superintendent of Schools, and Susan Blow, who had studied the methods of Friedrich Fröbel, the founder of the kindergarten system.

By the end of the 19th century, the district had 95 schools and employed more than 1,600 teachers. (Wikipedia)

— Steve Patterson

 

Opinion: St. Louis Should Consider Having School Board Members Appointed By The Mayor

January 24, 2018 Education, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: St. Louis Should Consider Having School Board Members Appointed By The Mayor
Former Arlington School in North St. Louis is now residential

When I wrote the recent Sunday Poll my thought was that we should always elect school board members — I’ve never lived anywhere otherwise. Then I began researching the subject and discovered many big central cities have school boards appointed by their mayor. Of course, this doesn’t make them better or worse than an elected board — just different.

The Post-Dispatch reviewed the pros & cons of elected, appointed, or a combination board in November:

Chicago, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Cleveland all have appointed school boards. Nationwide, appointed boards are either selected entirely by the mayor or by a combination of the mayor, governor or local elected officials. Here, the governor, St. Louis’ mayor and president of the Board of Aldermen each appoint a member to the SAB. The number of people on an appointed board ranges from three in St. Louis to six in Chicago and 14 in New York.

Wong found that appointed boards improve academic performance and district management. Appointed boards have also been better than elected boards at tackling systemwide priorities such as achievement gaps or graduation rates.

“The appointed board is primarily suited if the city really wants to head-on confront tough challenges and if they really want to push for some of the changes faster,” Wong said. (Post-Dispatch)

I don’t know that an appointed board is right for St. Louis, but it’s worth considering. Of course, I think the entire St. Louis region needs to reconsider much of how it’s governed.

Here are the results from the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q:  Agree or disagree: The board appointed to run St Louis Public Schools did such a great job we should abandon electing board members

  • Strongly agree 3 [15%]
  • Agree 3 [15%]
  • Somewhat agree 2 [10%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree 2 [10%]
  • Disagree 5 [25%]
  • Strongly disagree 5 [25%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

The number of responses was lower than usual, I didn’t even vote. Still, more than half support electing school board members.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should Future School Board Members Be Appointed Or Elected?

January 21, 2018 Education, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Future School Board Members Be Appointed Or Elected?
Please vote below

For more than a decade we’ve elected members to the local school board, but it has been 3 appointed members of a special administrative board working to win back accreditation for the St. Louis Public Schools.

The city’s elected school board has not been in control of the district since 2007, when the state stripped the St. Louis Public Schools of its accreditation, declared it a transitional school district and replaced the elected board with the three-member appointed Special Administrative Board.

The move was not intended to be permanent. When the district regained its accreditation last January, that signaled to state and district leaders that it was time to think about a transition away from the Special Administrative Board. (Post-Dispatch)

This is the topic of today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

April 4th Ballot: School Board & Junior College Board

March 24, 2017 Education, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on April 4th Ballot: School Board & Junior College Board

In a little over a week St. Louis voters will return to the polls for the general election — mostly a rubber-stamp of the Democratic nominees selected earlier this month. In addition to propositions that I’ll cover next week, there are two often overlooked nonpartisan races on our ballot (sample): local school board & junior college trustee.

The school board hasn’t been critical for a decade, but that may soon change since the district regained state accreditation:

Many in the education scene are closely watching this particular school board election because the St. Louis elected school board, which has sat by for about a decade with no powers, could regain governance control of the district in the near future.

The elected board was replaced by a three-member appointed board in 2007 after the district lost accreditation. Some expect a transition back to the elected board will happen soon, now that the district proved it’s improving when it was fully accredited by the state last week.

Several education leaders do not wish to part quickly with the appointed board, which has been credited with returning the district to stable ground in terms of leadership, finances and academics. But others argue the district, on democratic principle, needs to be governed locally by an elected board. (Post-Dispatch)

FOR MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (FOUR-YEAR TERM — VOTE FOR THREE)

  • BILL MONROE
  • NATALIE VOWELL
  • DAVID LEE JACKSON
  • DOROTHY ROHDE-COLLINS
  • BRIAN P. WALLNER
  • JAMES IRA REECE
  • SUSAN R. JONES

For more information on the 2017 school board election see Ballotpedia.

St. Louis Community College at Forest Park

There are three candidates for one seat representing much the city on the regional body overseeing the St. Louis Community College system:

Three candidates have filed for the Subdistrict 2 seat. Incumbent Hattie R. Jackson will not seek re-election. The candidates are Pam Ross, Patrick J. Burke and Ciera Lenette Simril. (STLCC)

FOR TRUSTEE FOR SUBDISTRICT 2 OF THE JUNIOR COLLEGE DISTRICT OF ST. LOUIS – ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI (ST. LOUIS COMMUNITY COLLEGE) (SIX-YEAR TERM — VOTE FOR ONE)

  • PAM ROSS
  • CIERA L. SIMRIL
  • PATRICK J. BURKE

Please take the time to research the candidates in the two races before voting in the April 4th general election.

— Steve Patterson

 

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