KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City Missouri school Superintendent John Covington submitted his resignation Wednesday, after a two-year tenure in which he closed about half the district's schools. Board member Arthur Benson also resigned.
School board president Airick Leonard West announced Covington's resignation at the beginning of Wednesday night's board meeting. Benson says Covington gave his reasons for resigning in a closed session with the board. The board has not yet accepted the resignation.
Covington and West had recently sparred over the control of new charter and contract schools in the district. And the Kansas City Star reports that on Tuesday, Covington's chief of staff made a Freedom of Information Act request for email exchanges between West and bidders for an $85 million dollar construction contract with the district.
Covington's resignation comes just a week and a half after the start of the school year. Recent state test scores showed a slight drop in student achievement, and a preliminary state report card shows the district is now meeting only three of 14 state standards, down one from last year. Districts typically must meet at least six standards for provisional accreditation. Administrators had said they had not expected student achievement to improve until this year.
Former board member Cokethea Hill says she thinks the school board put too much of the district's future into Covington's hands.
"So there was no plan, and now the Superintendent is gone and this is his vision and his plan. What happens now?" Hill asks.
Other civic leaders are still hoping to convince Covington to change his mind. His resignation is effective in 30 days.