FERGUSON, Mo. (KSDK) - Less than a week after placing its superintendent on leave over differences in focus and philosophy, the Ferguson-Florissant School District is addressing concerns the move was racially motivated.
The school board voted to remove Dr. Art McCoy from his post November 7 by a 6-1 vote. McCoy became superintendent in 2011.
A group of concerned individuals rallied last Friday to call out the board of education for its lack of answers about why Dr. McCoy was placed on leave. The group, the Citizens Task Force on Excellence in Education, raised the specter of racial bias. All seven members of the school board are white; Dr. McCoy is black.
In a letter addressed to all school district families, staff and community, President of the Ferguson-Florissant Board of Education Paul Morris writes the decision to remove McCoy was not made lightly.
Morris said details cannot be disclosed to maintain employee privacy, but he insists race played no role in the decision.
"We have met with the St. Louis County NAACP, North County Churches Uniting for Racial Harmony and Justice, and County Executive Charlie Dooley to discuss these concerns," Morris wrote.
Rev. Adolphus Pruitt, Vice President for the St. Louis County NAACP, had threatened the district with a Title Six complaint, asking the federal departments of justice and education to get involved.
In the meantime, District Chief Accountability Officer Larry Larrew is serving as acting superintendent until the issue is resolved. Dr. McCoy remains on paid administrative leave.