College president declines Missouri Board of Education appointment after state law ‘oversight’ | Education

Kansas Christian College President Delbert Scott, one of Gov. Eric Greitens’ recent appointees to the Missouri Board of Education, is declining the board position after learning his college presidency makes him ineligible to be a state board member under state law.

Greitens announced Monday that he appointed Scott, a Republican and member of the Missouri Charter Public School Commission, to the state board. Greitens had appointed Scott to replace board member Russell Still, a Democrat.

But state law says that no state board member “shall be connected, either as an official or as an employee, with any public, private, or denominational school, college or university, nor be the holder of or a candidate for any public office.”

“Since serving on the Missouri State Board of Education conflicts with my position at Kansas Christian College I have decided to withdraw from the state board appointment and continue serving on the Missouri Charter Public School Commission,” Scott wrote in an email. “This will allow me to stay involved in the effort to provide quality schools and meaningful school choice to students across our state.”

Another of Greitens’ appointments also had a connection to a school. Melissa Gelner, chief kinship officer for Askinosie Chocolate and a self-identified independent, was on the board of trustees for the Summit Preparatory School in Springfield, Mo. when Greitens appointed her.

In an email statement, Greitens’ spokesman Parker Briden said the governor’s appointment of Scott “was an oversight that has been corrected.” Briden also said Gelner is resigning from her school trustee position to take the State Board appointment.

While Gelner describes herself as an independent and shows no recent political contributions, her husband, Brian Gelner, had contributed $500 to Greitens’ gubernatorial campaign last year.

Greitens had also appointed Eddy Justice, owner and agent of Eddy Justice State Farm Insurance, chairman of the 8th Congressional District Republican Committee and treasurer for the House Republican Campaign Committee.

Greitens’ appointments drew criticism from at least one local state representative. House Assistant Minority Leader Gina Mitten, D-St. Louis, said in a statement that Greitens showed incompetence and political favoritism in his board appointments.

She referred to Justice’s position as a campaigner for the Missouri Republican Party and Melissa Gelner’s family’s contributions to Republican politicians.

“Professional politician Eric Greitens should spend less time gallivanting around the country cozying up to big donors and more time learning how to govern,” Mitten said in the statement.

Two state board positions are currently open for appointment by Greitens: one for the position Scott was to fill, and one for current board member John Martin, a Democrat.

Board members serve staggered, eight-year terms. They remain in their positions, even if their terms expire, until they are reappointed or replaced. No more than four members can belong to the same political party.

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