State Takes Over East St. Louis Schools; Board Members Feel Decision is "Full of Crap"


East St. Louis High School 100 years ago. Now a ward of the state of Illinois. - IMAGE VIA
  • image via
  • East St. Louis High School 100 years ago. Now a ward of the state of Illinois.

It's been five years since the St. Louis public schools lost their accreditation and were transferred to the care of the state. Now the same fate has befallen the public schools of East St. Louis.

The Illinois state board of education voted unanimously yesterday to dissolve the school board in East St. Louis and replace it with state officials. This is the first time the state has ever taken over a school district.

The state also issued a $30 million to the East St. Louis district, but only on the condition that the old school board be replaced.

Last year the state had taken over the district's finances and warned that it would take over the educational aspects, too, unless test scores went up. This school year, however, only 60 percent of the students managed to meet or exceed state performance standards.

"It's become obvious that we will not be able to move forward with student achievement with the current board in place," state superintendent Christopher Koch told the board. "This is not an easy recommendation to make."

But some of the old school board members refused to go quietly.

"Show me where my vote stopped someone from getting a good score or getting a decent education," former board member Carl Officer told St. Louis Public Radio. "I'm not going to let the state superintendent or any other yahoo in Springfield walk around telling me, we're removing you because your kids didn't do well -- you are full of crap."