St. Louis Schools Watch
By Susan Turk
April 4, 2019-St. Louis—
April 2, 2019 BOARD OF EDUCATION RESULTS
Total Votes 32992
ADAM LAYNE 7179 21.76%
DAVID MERIDETH 5254 15.93%
LOUIS CROSS 2544 7.71%
BARBARA ANDERSON 6033 18.29%
WILLIAM HAAS 3653 11.07%
TRACEE MILLER 6294 19.08%
DAN MCCREADY 1614 4.89%
Write-in Votes 421 1.28%
So, Adam Layne and Tracee Miller have won the election for two open seats on the school board, which only goes to prove that in a low turn out election, money makes a tremendous difference.
Layne adopted the same strategy used by Charli Cooksey when she ran four years ago. She benefitted from a $30,000 contribution from Leadership for Educational Equity, a Teach For America affiliated entity, which enabled her to disseminate three city-wide mailers the week before the election and win. Teach for America encourages its former corps members to run for school boards across the country. Remember that Layne worked for Cooksey at the now defunct InspireStL program and succeeded her as its executive director. Now he will succeed her onto the school board. Her large out of state funder was a known entity which contributed directly to her campaign. His windfall was laundered through a political action committee, Civil PAC, and its source, Public School Allies, is untraceable. Given the extremes to which Layne’ went to conceal the identity of his supporters to win his seat on the board, he will bear scrutiny throughout his tenure.
Aside from Cooksey and Layne, Miller is also a veteran of T4A. Miller benefited from a $1,000 contribution from Leadership for Educational Equity. But she raised an additional $6,000 on her own which she used to buy ads on Facebook. She utilized the same strategy which Natalie Vowell found successful, campaigning on social media.
None of the other candidates made an effort to raise much even after it was apparent that Layne, Miller and McCready were benefiting from a Sinquefield sponsored push poll in early March.
Nor did it help that AFT Local 420 endorsed three candidates, diluting the votes of people who look to them for guidance.
The SLPS lost a lawsuit last week. They had sued all of the charter schools in the city hoping to recover $50 million in sales tax dollars approved by voters in 1999 to enable the end of the federal desegregation case and subsequently sued for and shared with the charters. since they won a lawsuit to get access to that funding source. The district was hoping to stop the charters from receiving future disbursements from that tax revenue as well.
The State Board Of Education will be meeting in an as yet to be determined place in St. Louis on April 15th and 16th. It is expected that during that meeting, they will approve the return of the elected school board to governance. Once the elected board returns to governance, hopefully citizens will again attend their meetings. Nothing enables direct oversight of elected officials like attendance at their public meetings.
The next Board of Education election will be April, 2021 for three seats. Perhaps SLPS parents should consider starting their own political action committee to raise funds for city wide mailers for the next board election campaign. Two years ought to be enough time to raise $20,000. With the victory of two T4A corps veterans this election cycle, there are sure to be more of them running next time. It’s never too early to plan for the future.
Friday, April 5, 2019
Recap of SLPS Elections, April 2019, by Susan Turk/St Louis Schools Watch. Thoughts on dark money, the lost lawsuit against charters, and possible return to elected board governance this month
Posted by Bret Gustafson at 8:12 AM