Court stands in children's way

Children in East St. Louis deserve better educational opportunities than what they have now.

How badly do elected school board members have to perform before state education officials can remove them from office?

Pretty bad, according to a ruling by St. Clair County Associate Judge Steve Rice. He blocked a state effort to oust members of the East St. Louis school board because he said it is unconstitutional to overthrow members of an elected body. Rice also said state officials were applying school code rules selectively against board members, who he contends were not afforded due process prior to the state's effort to remove them.

The schools in East St. Louis have been a disaster area for years that doom students to a terrible education. That kind of poor start in life makes it exceptionally difficult to become a successful and productive citizen.

Tiring of the situation and the rampant corruption in the district, state officials stepped in months ago, appointing former Champaign schools Superintendent Arthur Culver as the district's new superintendent and forcing the school board to agree to let the state run the district in exchange for being allowed to retain a limited role.

Culver and school officials say board members have been stepping outside their limited bounds, and that's why the state wants to dissolve the board. The board's lawyer found a judge who said the state isn't free to act as it pleases.

This issue is not resolved. Judge Rice has scheduled another hearing on the issue, and the school board remains in place for now.

It's hard to imagine the board will remain in place for long. There has to be accountability on something this important, but not to the electorate that elected the board members. East St. Louis board members must be held responsible for the educational malpractice over which they have presided for so long.

Sections (2):Editorials, Opinion
Categories (2):Editorials, Opinions

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