Ousted Ferguson-Florissant superintendent breaks his silence

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by Craig Cheatham / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on November 26, 2013 at 8:02 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 26 at 8:20 PM

 (KMOV) – Suspended Ferguson-Florissant Superintendent, Art McCoy finally broke his silence and talked about his administrative leave of absence Tuesday afternoon.

News 4 Investigative Reporter, Craig Cheatham uncovered new information that raised more questions about how the school board handled the situation.

Dr. McCoy was suspended three weeks ago and since then he said the board has refused to meet with him or his attorney.

"I pleaded and asked them why. Why would you do this? Why now? Why ever? Why this way?" McCoy said.

Despite those pleas, McCoy said the Ferguson-Florissant School Board never explained why it placed him on paid administrative leave, even though board members talked about his push to welcome transfer students from the Normandy and Riverview Gardens school districts.

"The only things that were said in the meeting, that was a positive cordial meeting, were about the transfer student process and school choice to students being something that the board did not approve and did not agree with. My response was that this is the law already that students in unaccredited districts get the right to choose to go to an accredited school system, and when they come through our doors, we treat each child as our own,” said Dr. McCoy.

As a result of accepting those transfer students, Ferguson-Florissant has spent several hundred thousand dollars, hiring teachers and assistants to make it work. McCoy also raised private money to help pay for transportation.

“My goal was to educate each child and make sure each child got an education,” said Dr. McCoy.

McCoy's suspension prompted a swift, emotional and huge backlash against the district. He says the community support made him stronger.  

 “The struggle to me is simple. It’s about doing the right thing, and doing things the right way for our children,” he said.

Last week, News 4 learned the current board president, Paul Morris, retired early three years ago after he felt forced out for what he believed were small violations of district policy.

Those violations included using district property for personal use while he was a high school teacher and Dr. McCoy served as the assistant superintendent overseeing district high schools.

Following a request by News 4, a statement was released Tusday evening from board president Paul Morris;

"As a school board, we want the community to know that we, too, are frustrated we can't say more on this matter. However, because this is a personnel matter, we are limited in what we can reveal. I want to emphasize that our decisions are ultimately being made with what is best for our students in mind.  We share Dr. McCoy's passion in creating an educational environment with the success of all students as our goal.  

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.  Once those investigations are complete, the Board will determine whether to bring Dr. McCoy back or terminate his contract. At that point, Dr. McCoy will be given the opportunity to either respond to the allegations in order to resolve them in the process of his return, or he will be able to address them at a board hearing as outlined in his contract. 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.

Finally, despite what you may hear otherwise, I believe that it has been made clear to Dr. McCoy as to the reasons he is on administrative leave.

 

We know this is a hard time for our community.  We hope to resolve it quickly and return our focus on the reason our district exists, the kids."

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