The State Board of Education voted 4-4 to retain Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven on November 21. According to minutes released following the closed meeting, a motion was made to remove Margie Vandeven as the commissioner of education. Those voting “yes” were Jennifer Edwards, Eddy Justice, Sonny Jungmeyer, and Doug Russell. Those voting “no” were Claudia Greim, Mike Jones, Vic Lenz, and Charlie Shields.

Jennifer Edwards of Springfield was sworn in to a seat on the board only minutes before the closed session began after Governor Greitens withdrew the appointment of Tim Sumners of Joplin. Sumners had indicated he would not support firing Vandeven.

MSBA Executive Director Melissa Randol said after the meeting, “We are very pleased the State Board of Education has exercised appropriate authority by declining to make a hasty decision to remove the commissioner of education from her position. The State Board should now model the good governance practices we expect of our local boards of education by taking the time to do a thorough and systematic evaluation of commissioner’s performance. It is critical that the independence of the State Board of Education be maintained so the board can make the best policy decisions for the nearly one million students in Missouri’s public schools.”

All five of the newly appointed State Board of Education members still must be confirmed by the Senate when it reconvenes in January. Senate Education Committee Chair Gary Romine told reporters it is unlikely appointees who support the removal of the commissioner will be confirmed by the Senate.

The State Board of Education meets again on Friday, December 1 in Jefferson City. State Board President Charlie Shields said it is possible the future of the commissioner could come up again at that meeting. MSBA has been aggressively working behind the scenes to address this issue. MSBA is working on pursuing legal options to address concerns involving the State Board of Education.