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Chappelle-Nadal Calls For Nicastro's Resignation

DESE Commissioner Chris Nicastro
Mo. Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education
DESE Commissioner Chris Nicastro

Reading of remonstrance on Senate floor, and statement from Sen. Chappelle-Nadal

A Missouri State senator has filed a remonstrance that calls for the immediate resignation of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner ChrisNicastro.

A remonstrance is a formal statement of protest but one with no force of authority or punitive actions.  The one filed Tuesday accuses Nicastro of misleading lawmakers and education officials in her role as DESE commissioner.  In particular, it accuses her of favoritism in hiring the consulting firm CEE-Trust to improve Kansas City schools and of advising the backers of an initiative petition to revamp teacher tenure.  The remonstrance is sponsored by state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City.

"In the 14 years I've been in this building, I have never known an administrator to deceive a public body, ever," Chappelle-Nadal said.  "It does not matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican, when you practice deception, you don't belong here -- you don't belong in the state of Missouri where people are paying you to serve them!"

Chappelle-Nadal has been a vocal critic of Nicastro. She had already prefiled two pieces of legislation, one a constitutional amendmentand the other a law, which would give the Missouri Senate the power to remove the education commissioner and prevent any reappointment.

In response to the remonstrance, Nicastro says she has great respect for Chappelle-Nadal.

"I'm very disappointed (by the remonstrance)," Nicastro said Tuesday.  "I've tried repeatedly to meet with Sen.Chappelle-Nadalto discuss her concerns and have been unsuccessful at getting that done…I would look forward to that opportunity."

So far, the remonstrance has only been read into the Senate record.  It could also be approved by votes held in committee and by the full Senate.  It also calls for Nicastro to be fired by the State Board of Education if she chooses not to resign.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Copyright 2014 St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.