Difference between revisions of "Missouri school districts"

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==State law==
==State law==
===Common Core===
===School board composition===
===School board composition===
Missouri school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some board members are appointed. Missouri school board elections typically follow one of these two methods, or a mixture thereof:
Missouri school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some board members are appointed. Missouri school board elections typically follow one of these two methods, or a mixture thereof:

Revision as of 10:55, 29 July 2014

K-12 Education in Missouri
Flag of Missouri.png
Education facts
State Superintendent: Chris Nicastro
Number of students: 916,584[1]
Number of teachers: 66,252
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:13.8
Number of school districts: 572
Number of schools: 2,408
Graduation rate: 86%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $9,410[3]
See also
Missouri Department of EducationList of school districts in MissouriMissouriSchool boards portal
Education policy logo.jpg
Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in Missouri
Glossary of education terms

Missouri is home to 572 school districts, 2,408 schools and 916,584 K-12 students.[4]

Quick facts

State school administrators

  • State Board of Education
    • Peter F. Herschend, President
    • Michael W. Jones, Vice President
    • Charlie W. Shields
    • Russell C. Still
    • Dr. O. Victor Lenz, Jr.
    • Joe Driskill
    • Dr. John Martin
    • Vacant


The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment, average Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test scores and per-pupil spending per Average Daily Attendance (ADA).[5][6]

Student enrollment, 2011-2012 MAP index scores, 2012-2013 Per-pupil spending per ADA, 2012-2013
1.) Springfield R-XII 1.) Lindbergh 1.) Savannah R-III
2.) St. Louis 2.) Clayton 2.) Tarkio R-I
3.) Rockwood R-VI 3.) Nixa R-II 3.) Rock Port R-II
4.) Fort Zumwalt R-II 4.) Kirkwood R-7 4.) Fairfax
5.) North Kansas City #74 5.) Ladue 5.) Community
6.) Hazelwood 6.) Brentwood 6.) Van-Far R-I
7.) Lee's Summit R-VII 7.) Leopold R-III 7.) Mexico
8.) Parkway C-II 8.) Rockwood R-VI 8.) Wheaton R-III
9.) Francis Howell R-III 9.) Park Hill 9.) Southwest R-V
10.) Columbia #93 10.) Lawson R-XIV 10.) Exeter


See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Missouri as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[7]

Demographic information for Missouri's K-12 public school system
Ethnicity Students State Percentage United States Percentage**
American Indian 4,182 0.46% 1.10%
Asian 17,267 1.88% 4.68%
African American 153,711 16.77% 15.68%
Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. students 1,470 0.16% 0.42%
Hispanic 44,581 4.86% 24.37%
White 680,249 74.22% 51.21%
Two or more 15,124 1.65% 2.54%
**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.

In the news

"Candy Man" stipend scandal in St. Joseph

See also: Stipend scandal erupts in St. Joseph, Missouri and FBI narrows probe in St. Joseph stipend scandal
FBI resident agent office in St. Joseph

The St. Joseph School District and Superintendent Fred Czerwonka are under investigation by the Missouri State Auditor, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and purportedly the U.S. Department of Education due to reports that the district is engaging in illegal accounting and hiring practices. The superintendent, appointed in July 2013, allegedly used a rebate from the district's insurance provider to distribute $270,000 in stipends to 54 administrators without board approval. District policy requires a report to the school board and the deposit of any excess funds, including refunds from vendors. Czerwonka, Human Resources Director Doug Flowers and school board member Dan Colgan also face accusations of using their positions to guarantee promotions within the district and raises for family members. Superintendent Czerwonka has been nicknamed "The Candy Man" for his use of the stipends.

School board member Chris Danford blew the whistle on these practices in a Board of Education meeting on March 24, 2014. In public session, she stated, "It’s not the board’s money. It’s taxpayers dollars. I don’t represent the teachers. I don’t represent the administrators. I represent the taxpayers." Since that time, Danford acknowledged that several of those involved in the scandal were not happy that she had brought the issue to light. She stated, "A lot of them are mad at me because they think I’m the Candy Man murderer." At an April 2014 board meeting, Czerwonka acknowledged that the use of the stipends without board knowledge or approval created a "massive mess," but he also defended the stipends as necessary for talent retention and morale improvement within the district administration.

Former district Chief Financial Officer Beau Musser also helped to raise awareness of the stipends and hiring practices after uncovering multiple irregularities and district policy violations in his review of the district's accounts. The district has denied any wrongdoing. Four days after Musser approached the Board of Education's audit committee chair about these irregularities, Superintendent Czerwonka called Musser to his office and accused him of multiple instances of sexual harassment. In a wrongful termination lawsuit later filed by Musser, he states that Czerwonka offered to drop the sexual harassment allegations in exchange for his resignation.

St. Joseph Superintendent Fred Czerwonka, nicknamed "The Candy Man"

Local National Education Association chapter President Todd Brockett has also accused the district of nepotism in its hiring and promotional practices. Superintendent Czerwonka's wife, Wendy, is employed as the district's homeless coordinator, which was previously handled on a part-time basis by another district employee. The wife of Human Resources Director Doug Flowers, Tammy, received a promotion from early childhood coordinator to technical director. She received a $10,500 per year raise, although her job responsibilities did not change as a result of the promotion. The Czerwonka family and the Flowers family together account for approximately half a million dollars per year in salaries from the St. Joseph School District.

Dr. Dan Colgan, a former superintendent and current school board member, has also been accused of participating in these employment practices. Colgan reportedly refused to allow the "Candy Man" stipends to continue while he was board president unless his son, Mark, received a promotion from district warehouse supervisor to technical director and a $15,527 raise. When contacted about the allegations, Colgan categorically denied them and insisted that they were both "false" and "absolutely ridiculous." In a written statement, Superintendent Czerwonka denied that any nepotism existed in the district and argued, "We do not discriminate based on an individual's name, last name, or who they are married to; we hire the best qualified candidate. The Board of Education hires and fires all employees. Board policy was followed accordingly. There are many spouses and relatives that work in the St. Joseph School District, one of the largest employers in the city."

In 2015, St. Joseph School District's property tax levy will sunset unless renewed by the community, which would result in less funding for the school district. NEA President Brockett believes that the distrustful atmosphere in the area will create problems for district administrators proposing an increase in the levy, stating, "The rage is palpable in the community and they’re not going to pass this levy with the current administration."

State law

Common Core

Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted the standards on June 15, 2010. Full implementation is scheduled to be achieved in the 2014-2015 academic year. Under pressure from opponents to Common Core, however, the Missouri Legislature passed House Bill 1490, which was signed by Governor Jay Nixon on July 14, 2014. This bill will replace the Common Core standards by the 2016-2017 school year with new state standards, to be developed with recommendations from educators and parents in the state.[8][9][10]

School board composition

Missouri school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some board members are appointed. Missouri school board elections typically follow one of these two methods, or a mixture thereof:

  • At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
  • District: Only voters residing in a specific geographic area within the school district may vote on certain candidates, who must also reside in that specific geographic area.

School boards typically consist of seven or nine members. Board members in most districts serve three-year terms, although board members in Kansas City and St. Louis serve four-year terms and board members in Independence and St. Joseph serve six-year terms.[11]

District types

Missouri contains multiple types of school districts. In addition to traditional school districts, the state also includes consolidated and reorganized districts, which were originally formed from two or more districts in the past. Consolidated districts are denoted with a "C" and a number in their legal name, while reorganized districts are denoted with an "R" and a number instead.

Term limits

Missouri does not impose statewide term limits on school board members.[12]

School board elections

Upcoming elections

See also: Missouri school board elections, 2014

A total of 19 Missouri school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment held elections in 2014 for 54 seats. Each district held elections on April 8, 2014.

Here are several quick facts about Missouri's school board elections in 2014:

  • The largest school district by enrollment with an election in 2014 was Springfield Public Schools with 24,730 K-12 students.
  • The smallest school district by enrollment with an election in 2014 was Park Hill School District with 10,307 K-12 students.
  • Kansas City Public Schools had the most seats on the ballot in 2014 with five seats up for election.
  • Five districts were tied for the fewest seats on the ballot in 2014 with two seats up for election in each district.

The districts listed below served 302,001 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.[13] Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.

2014 Missouri School Board Elections
District Date Seats up for election Total board seats Student enrollment
Blue Springs School District 4/8/2014 3 7 14,108
Columbia Public Schools 4/8/2014 3 7 17,550
Ferguson-Florissant School District 4/8/2014 3 7 12,236
Francis Howell School District 4/8/2014 3 7 19,981
Fort Zumwalt R-Il School District 4/8/2014 2 7 18,951
Fox C-6 School District 4/8/2014 3 7 11,690
Hazelwood School District 4/8/2014 3 7 18,655
Independence School District 4/8/2014 3 7 14,545
Kansas City Public Schools 4/8/2014 5 9 15,835
Lee's Summit R-7 Schools 4/8/2014 3 7 17,803
Liberty Public Schools 4/8/2014 3 7 10,936
Mehlville School District 4/8/2014 3 7 11,006
North Kansas City Schools 4/8/2014 2 7 18,764
Park Hill School District 4/8/2014 2 7 10,307
Parkway Schools 4/8/2014 3 7 17,458
Rockwood School District 4/8/2014 3 7 22,823
Springfield Public Schools 4/8/2014 2 7 24,730
St. Joseph School District 4/8/2014 2 7 11,709
Wentzville R-IV School District 4/8/2014 3 7 12,914

Path to the ballot

To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in Missouri, a person must be:[11]

  • 24 years of age or older
  • A citizen of Missouri for at least one year prior to the election
  • A resident of the school district
  • A "resident taxpayer" of the school district

A person must not be:

  • A current employee of the school district, unless they are an independent contractor
  • Serving in another public office, unless they are a county administrator, county clerk or circuit clerk
  • A registered sex offender or a required to register as a sex offender
  • Someone who plead guilty or nolo contendere to or is convicted of a felony, unless the sentence or probationary period of the felony is completed
  • Someone who plead guilty to or was convicted of a crime connected with the exercise of the right of suffrage
  • A former candidate for public office who failed to file required campaign disclosures or to pay assessed fees from a previous election

The "resident taxpayer" clause is ambiguous regarding what constitutes "taxpayer" status. According to a pamphlet published by the Missouri School Boards' Association, it is possible but not certain that paying sales taxes in the district would qualify someone to meet that requirement. In the 1939 State ex Inf. Mitchell ex rel. Goodman v. Heath decision by the Missouri Supreme Court, the court ruled that paying property taxes would fulfill this requirement. In Columbia, Fort Zumwalt, Independence, Kansas City, Lee's Summit, St. Joseph and Springfield, board members are required to be "voters of the district" instead of "resident taxpayers."

The requirements for running as a school board candidate in St. Louis are more stringent. Candidates must be "residents and citizens" of the city both at the time of the election and for three years prior to the election. Candidates may not hold any other public office except for notary public, and candidates may not be involved or have a stake in any contract or claim against the board "either directly or indirectly."

The process of running for office as a school board candidate begins with filing a "declaration of intent" and a separate statement acknowledging that the candidate has received a written notice that they must file a personal financial disclosure statement and a copy of the summary of laws from the Missouri Ethics Commission. The latter two documents will be given to candidates when they file their declaration of intent. Candidates may file from the 16th Tuesday preceding the election to the 11th Tuesday preceding the election. The only exception to that timeline is for districts with boundaries that extend into Kansas City. The timeline for those districts begins on the 15th Tuesday preceding the election instead. Candidates must file their statements in person, although allowances may be made if a candidate is performing military service or has a disability preventing them from visiting the school district office.

Candidates may withdraw from the ballot at any time upon request before the district office has certified the candidate list. After certification and before the sixth Tuesday preceding the election, candidates may still withdraw from the ballot if they obtain a court order. There is no legal mechanism to allow a candidate to withdraw from the ballot after the sixth Tuesday preceding the election has passed.

The rules regarding write-in candidate filing requirements vary depending on the number of other candidates who filed. If no candidates filed for a position, write-in candidates are not required to file a declaration of intent. This is also true if fewer candidates filed than the total number of available seats. If neither of these circumstances are the case, then write-in candidates must file a declaration of intent with the appropriate election authority prior to the close of business on the second Friday preceding the election.[11]

Campaign finance

The type of personal financial disclosure statement that candidates are required to file depends on the policies of each school district. If a school district's annual operating budget is equal to or less than $1 million, candidates are not required to file a statement. The filing deadline for these statements is 14 days after the filing deadline for candidacy. If candidates fail to file a statement within 21 days of the deadline, their names will be automatically removed from the ballot.

State law places no limit on the total amount of contributions that a candidate may receive. Candidates may not receive more than $100 in cash contributions per contributor, and any contribution in excess of $5,000 must be reported electronically to the Missouri Ethics Commission within 48 hours of its receipt. Anonymous donations are capped at $25 per donor, and candidates may not receive more than $500 in total anonymous contributions or one percent of all contributions received in that calendar year.[11]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, "2011-2012 Statistics of Missouri Public Schools," accessed August 6, 2013
  5. Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, "District and School Information," accessed August 6, 2013
  6. Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, "State Assessment," accessed July 8, 2014
  7. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  8. Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed June 12, 2014
  9. Missouri Learning Standards, "About the Missouri Learning Standards," accessed June 17, 2014
  10. Columbia Daily Tribune, "Governor vetoes teacher gun bill, signs Common Core reform measure," July 14, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Missouri School Boards' Association, "A Candidate’s Guide to Running for the School Board," accessed July 8, 2014
  12. National School Boards Association, "Survey of the State School Boards Associations on Term Limits for Local Board Members," accessed July 8, 2014
  13. National Center for Education Statistics, "Elementary/Secondary Information System," accessed March 21, 2014