School daze

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Missouri School Boards Association and the Scott County Central School District appear to have little concern over whether Scott County Central School Board member Eric Kesler actually lives within the boundaries of the school district.

The school district superintendent, Joby Holland, says the issue of whether Kesler's house lies within the district lines arose before Kesler's election to the board in April. He said the issue was never resolved once the district's attorney told him school districts have no legal authority or responsibility to make that determination.

A spokeswoman for the state school boards association confirms that school districts do not have that authority and says resolving the issue would require someone to file a lawsuit.

State law requires school board members to live in their district. They must be "resident taxpayers" in the district they serve.

Kesler paid his real estate taxes in 2005 to the Oran School District and personal property taxes on vehicles to the Scott County School District. How this occurred is unclear. But an attorney general's opinion on a different case states that trustees of a community college district who move out of the district are disqualified from serving on the board, another indication that residency requirements are to be taken seriously.

A complaint has to be filed with either the attorney general or the county prosecutor before any action can be taken against a board member who may not be qualified to serve.

This situation needs clearing up. The Scott County schools are in a precarious position. Potentially, any close vote in which Kesler has participated could be challenged if he is not qualified to serve.

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