Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parents and Boards Should Run Schools, Panelists Say

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parents and Boards Should Run Schools, Panelists Say

Article excerpt

Control of public schools should be in the hands of parents and school boards, not the federal and state government, panelists at an education forum said recently.

The forum was sponsored by a group called "Back to Basics," which was started about two months ago by Parkway School District parent Steve Boody. About 250 people attended the meeting last week at Parkway Central Middle School.

Panelists included: Catherine Moore, representing U.S. Sen. Christopher S. Bond; Barbara Cooper, representing U.S. Rep. James Talent; State Sen. Franc Flotron; State Sen. Steven Ehlmann; State Rep. David Klarich; and Carol Brzeczek, a school board member in Littleton, Colo.

Back to Basics is "an open organization of citizens who want to ensure that the students of the Parkway School District continue to receive the best possible education and training," according to the group's literature. "It is the goal of Back to Basics to maintain the lines of communication and to be included in the decisions affecting our children's education and well-being."

Many of the panelists blasted the Outstanding Schools Act of 1993, also known as Senate Bill 380, which the Missouri Legislature passed to equalize school funding throughout the state. A few districts in the metropolitan area received large increases in state funding last year because of the reform measure.

Under the measure, school districts are required to have a minimum tax levy of $2.75 for each $100 assessed valuation, in order to continue to receive state funding. The state could force districts not complying with the minimum tax level to merge with another district. School boards were given the authority to raise taxes, if necessary, to the $2.75 level - without voter approval.

The act also required the state board of education to adopt up to 75 performance standards to define the "knowledge, skills and competencies" that all students should be expected to achieve.

"Senate Bill 380 was the largest tax increase in history without the vote of the people," Flotron said. …

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