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State Board of Education hears public testimony during search for new commissioner

State Board of Education hears public...

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - UPDATE, 5:40 p.m.: People from across the state, many of them educators, testified Monday on what qualities they'd like to see in a new commissioner to replace Margie Vandeven.

About 20 people went before the board to describe their ideal commissioner, and many of the same words and phrases came up.

Those who testified said they'd like to see someone who can foster collaboration and innovation. They also hoped the new commissioner would be ethical and put the agenda of students and teachers in Missouri before anything political.

Many of those who came forward Monday said they would like to see the new commissioner be similar to Vandeven.

The vote that ousted Vandeven back in December has ruffled feathers in the legislature. The Senate has to confirm the governor's new candidates before they can be official board members, but several senators have already said they will not support the new appointees.

This poses a problem because there are currently only three sitting members: board president Charlie Shields, vice president Victor Lenz and Michael Jones.

The board needs a quorum of five confirmed members to vote on anything so if the battle in the Senate rages on, the board will be without a commissioner.

"The problem you have is that when you don't have a quorum, you don't have a new commissioner," said Shields. "You're really stalling out progress on education in Missouri and that's the challenge."

The board is required to meet in December and June so there should be a commissioner in place before then to meet their constitutional obligation.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Missouri Board of Education held a public hearing Monday afternoon as it searches for a new commissioner to replace Margie Vandeven.

Five people whom Gov. Eric Greitens appointed to the State Board of Education voted to remove Vandeven in a vote of 5-3 last month.

Greitens had been trying to get a majority of board members to oust Vandeven, and one attempt in November failed when one of his appointees, Claudia Greim, broke ranks and joined those appointed by previous governors in voting to keep her. Greim resigned shortly after. 

Deputy Commissioner Roger Dorson is serving as interim education commissioner until the board finds a new leader.

The five new members Greitens has appointed still must be confirmed by the Senate this month.

Monday afternoon's public hearing will begin at 2 p.m. and will be in the State Board Room on the first floor of the Jefferson Building in Jefferson City.


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