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Education commissioner remains following board's split vote

Education commissioner remains following board's split vote

November 21st, 2017 by Staff Reports and Associated Press in Missouri News

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to supporters during a May 23 rally outside the Capitol.

Photo by Associated Press /News Tribune.

The Missouri State Board of Education has voted down an effort to fire the state's top education official.

Members voted 4-4 Tuesday on the question of ousting Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven. Five votes were needed to remove her.

Republican Gov. Eric Greitens has been pushing for her removal but hasn't elaborated on why. He's filled five seats on the eight-member board, the majority needed to vote her out.

But the Tuesday attempt to ax Vandeven backfired.

Vandeven said she's looking forward to attention returning to children's education.

Greitens' spokesman, Parker Briden, didn't immediately respond to Associated Press requests for comment Tuesday.

Board members Eddy Justice, Doug Russell, Sonny Jungmeyer and Jennifer Edwards voted for the leadership change, according to a news release from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Board President Charlie Shields, Vice President Vic Lenz, and members Mike Jones and Claudia Oate Greim voted against the motion.

Greitens appointed Edwards, of Springfield, as a new member to the board less than an hour before its Tuesday meeting. She is president and co-founder of advocacy group Decoding Dyslexia Missouri.

Edwards' appointment came the day after Greitens withdrew his appointment of John "Tim" Sumners, who had said he would not vote against Vandeven. Greitens' appointments are subject to Senate confirmation. The governor can withdraw appointments before then, but once they're locked in they're not at risk of losing their appointments.

Greitens previously withdrew his appointment of Springfield resident Melissa Gelner, who had said the Greitens' administration was pressuring her to make "rash" decisions about leadership.

Ousting Vandeven would have paved the way for Greitens to appoint a replacement, possibly an Atlanta school administrator who shares his support for charter schools and served as a White House fellow alongside Greitens in 2005.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has appointed a new member to the Missouri State Board of Education less than an hour before it's expected to discuss whether to fire the state's top education official.

Greitens on Tuesday appointed Jennifer Edwards, the president and co-founder of advocacy group Decoding Dyslexia Missouri. She's from Springfield.

The appointment was announced shortly before board members were set to meet in Jefferson City. They're expected to discuss whether to fire the state's top education official, Commissioner Margie Vandeven.

Greitens is trying to oust Vandeven, although he hasn't elaborated on why.

Edwards' appointment comes the day after Greitens withdrew another appointee who had said he would not vote against Vandeven. It takes five votes to fire the commissioner, and Edwards could be the pivotal fifth vote needed.

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