Suspended superintendent speaks out for first time

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- A citizen group supporting suspended Ferguson Florissant Superintendent Art McCoy is now calling on the district`s school board president to resign.  The Board of Education put McCoy on paid administrative leave November 6 without issuing any public explanation.

The Citizens` Task Force on Excellence in Education  announced  it had 'discovered information about board president Paul Morris' that is prompting members to demand his resignation.  At the same time, members are working to recruit candidates to run for the school board this spring.

Art McCoy spoke in front of Task Force members during a news conference in Berkeley Tuesday.   This was his first public appearance since the board suspended him.  He thanked those who have supported him.  McCoy said he is standing up for the children in the district and for doing things the right way.

School Board President Paul Morris issued a statement describing the same goal.  'Our decisions are ultimately being made with what is best for our students in mind.  As a board, we continue to investigate numerous accusations and are taking the time necessary to conduct a complete and thorough investigation in order to make the best possible decision.'

McCoy said when the board placed  him on administrative leave November 6 they indicated they would contact him in a week.   But that has not happened.

Morris said, 'Since putting him on administrative leave, up until now, we have received no requests from Dr. McCoy or his attorney to meet with the board.'

The superintendent told FOX2 News  his attorney sent a letter to the school board attorney and the board on November 14 asking for details and information about the leave.  McCoy added the next day his attorney placed a phone call to the school board attorney and on November 19 he himself sent a letter and an email to the head of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education  (DESE) and to the Ferguson Florissant School Board saying he was 'anxious to meet to discuss this issue.'

'I`ve received no response from the board,' McCoy told reporters Tuesday.  He added he has only learned from media reports that there was a concern about the reporting of attendance  numbers in August of 2012.

He said he was looking forward to talking to board members so he could assist them on the matter.   'DESE`s  process allows schools to review embargoed data and to make  any corrections to errors that are identified.  All the way August,'  McCoy explained.  He added there is one person in the district who files attendance numbers with the state  and that employee is four layers beneath the superintendent`s office.  'My expectation is for my staff to review the data and make it accurate.'  He said he had no knowledge of anyone misrepresenting attendance numbers to make the school district look better.

When asked if he thought board members were upset with his testimony regarding the school choice transfer program ordered by a Missouri Supreme Court decision he revealed he had submitted his testimony in advance and had received some praise and a suggestion to add comments about guaranteeing the payment of tuition ( to receiving schools).  The only response he received after he spoke, McCoy said was criticism of the school  choice law.   He went on to explain that was the state law.   'I did not include the word school choice in my testimony.'

A letter sent November 22 from a Missouri deputy commissioner of education to the Ferguson Florissant school district  indicates the state did find a reported increase in attendance hours by 20,568.72.  Howeverthe letter does not say if that increase was unwarranted.

The Citizens` Task Force on Excellence in Education can be reached at citizenstaskforce@gmail.com

The district web site is www.fergflor.org.

Betsey.bruce@tvstl.com
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