St. Louis Oracle

St. Louis-based political forecasting plus commentary on politics and events from a grassroots veteran with a mature, progressive anti-establishment perspective.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

New school board majority being tested

Antonio French, the new editor of St. Louis Schools Watch (which had been produced by Peter Downs prior to his election to the school board), reports on his Pub Def Weekly blog (scroll down to "More Schools Stuff") that Downs and fellow board members Bill Purdy and Donna Jones have written a letter appearing in today's edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, defending teachers from "unwarranted" criticisms over absences.

The Oracle believes that the most interesting part is who didn't join in. Board member Veronica O'Brien was conspicuously absent from the letter.

O'Brien was originally named to the Board by Mayor Francis Slay, but then broke from the mayor's majority faction and voted with the minority after clashes with board bully Vince Schoemehl.

Schoemehl's gone now. Dissidents control the board by a one-vote margin that includes O'Brien. It wouldn't surprise me if the mayor or his business allies tried to retake control by persuading one of the current majority to switch sides. O'Brien would seem to be the logical choice, since her background originally appealed enough to Slay for him to appoint her in the first place, and the other three all seem more solidly oriented against the mayor (and for Local 420). And, of course, O'Brien has changed sides once before.

It's just speculation, but it's worth watching.

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