Mayor's Letter Attacks School Management Angry Bosley Responds to Board's Resolution

Article excerpt

With a letter that criticizes the management of the city public schools, St. Louis Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. has stepped up the friction between himself and the St. Louis School Board.

In the five-page letter to the School Board president, the Rev. Earl Nance Jr., Bosley responded in sharp words to what his staff characterized as the "confrontational tone" of a resolution the School Board sent him March 18.

The mayor's press secretary, Pat Washington, said Sunday that the mayor also was upset by "the underlying insinuation that the School Board didn't appreciate the mayor's interest in the schools."

In the final paragraph of his letter, dated Thursday, Bosley asked Nance not to respond "until the Board of Education members are willing to place the education of our kids in front of their egos."

The Post-Dispatch obtained a copy of the letter Sunday.

A conciliatory Nance declined Sunday to discuss that resolution, except to say that Bosley "got some things off his chest, and we got some things off our chest, of mutual interest. It wasn't adversarial, and we don't take it that way."

But board member Robyn Wahby said she was disappointed in the mayor's response. "He urged us not to respond . . . and that doesn't sound cooperative or collaborative," she said.

She said the resolution sent to Bosley dealt with issues such as tax abatements and asked the mayor to establish a task force of business, civic and education leaders to study education and economic development.

As mayor, Bosley has shown interest in the St. Louis Public Schools, visiting them and talking to children.

In his letter to Nance, Bosley noted that he is a graduate of the public schools, his wife is a teacher in a public school and his daughter attends a public school. He also said that he had visited more than 50 city public schools, "more than the visits of anyone on the Board of Education."

In his letter, Bosley said that finances alone were not the real issue. ". . . The problems that the schools face don't necessarily require more money - they require better management."

In a comparison Bosley has made several times recently, he finds the public schools wanting compared with Archdiocesan schools. …