Vacant Missouri State Board of Education seats impact the metro

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Gov. Mike Parson began his first full week in office on Monday as more than half of the seats on the Missouri State Board of Education remained vacant.

The board hasn’t held a meeting since last December, and only three of the eight seats are currently filled.

The group faced plenty of controversy late last year after former Gov. Eric Greitens allegedly pushed for members to fire Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven and appointed several members to carry out the plan.

Following the board’s vote to oust Vandeven in December, the Missouri Senate failed to vote and confirm any of Greitens’s appointments.

Months later, the seats once filled by the appointees are vacant.

On Monday, 41 Action News spoke to former board member Eric Teeman.

Teeman was appointed by Greitens and cast a vote against Vandeven last year.

“Wholesale changes were needed,” he explained. “We needed an all-new vision for how schools should work.”

After being appointed by Greitens with the Senate not in session, Teeman needed to be confirmed as a board member during the last legislative session.

However, once it became clear the Senate was not taking any action due to the controversial maneuver by the governor, Greitens withdrew the appointments before renominating them earlier this year.

The decision allowed the Senate more time to debate the nominations.

However, due to the controversy surrounding Greitens this year, Teeman said filling the school board took a backseat.

“All the political games that were played with our nominations faded fast,” he explained. “Of course, you’re not going to get anybody to replace us until that issue (the Greitens controversy this year) had settled itself.”

Teeman withdrew his name as a nominee in May as the process dragged on.

With the seats on the board still vacant, several charter schools around the state are waiting to have their authorizations renewed, including Brookside Charter School in Kansas City.

A spokesperson for the board also confirmed that around two dozen teachers are waiting for decisions on their certifications.

With Parson now in office, Teeman expects the governor to fill the vacancies soon and find a full-time education commissioner.

“Those seats will get filled and life will go on,” he explained.

The board spokesperson told 41 Action News that charter schools waiting to be reauthorized will likely be able to continue operating until the board makes a decision on their certification.

Despite the board being two positions short of having a quorum, the next Missouri State Board of Education meeting is scheduled for June 12.

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