Rockwood Board of Education President Resigns Presidency

At Thursday night's Rockwood School District board of education meeting, Steve Smith stepped away from his presidency of the group, citing it was to remove potential bond-related concerns. Vice President Janet Strate will lead until reorganizing Jan. 5.

Steve Smith, president of the board of education, resigned his presidency at Thursday's meeting held at Crestview Middle School in Ellisville. Smith stated he intended to complete his term as an elected member of the board, however.

"While I am honored and humbled to have been selected by my fellow board members as president, this position is not my priority," Smith stated in his resignation letter. "My priority is honoring the trust placed in me by our voters to serve our students, staff and community."

In the letter, Smith said his only motivation for serving on the board was to ensure the welfare of the district's more than 22,000 students. "We know students need a learning environment that is safe, secure, comfortable and equipped with the latest technology. The Rockwood School District uses funds from no tax increase bond issues to help provide that environment. Our community has historically supported those bond issues," he said.

"It would be a disaster if some people's opinions about my role as board president jeopardized this support."

Smith previously served on the Rockwood board of education from 1989 to 1995. He was appointed in 2003 to fill Judy Dungan's position until a 2004 election. He also was appointed in 2010 to fill Rao Kaza's position until the April 2011 election, in which he was elected to serve until 2014.

At Thursday's meeting, Smith said he believed the district has achieved much for the students, due to the people employed there. "They have done so with relatively low pay and old curricula. While I believe we cannot seek a levy increase now to address those issues, the board appears to be reconsidering a decision on a potential 2012 bond issue," he stated.

"Some people expressed concerns about my being the board president while working for the company that has provided program management services for the district's bond issue projects. Today, I remove that concern."

Smith is employed by Glenn Construction, starting in 2004.

Smith said if a bond issue is put forward, he hoped the people who expressed concerns about his position as board president will demonstrate their concern for the children in the district and support the bond issue.

Board Vice President Janet Strate said she was sad to see Smith resign. "I know you have put a great deal of thought into your decision," she said to Smith during the meeting.

"It has been an honor to serve as vice president with you," she said, addressing Smith. "You have led by example — being honest, caring and fair; and making sure that each board member's thoughts were carefully considered."

Strate said those who knew Smith and who have worked with him over the years know in their hearts that he always has had the best interest of all Rockwood students at the heart of all his decisions.

She called Smith "a person of integrity."

Per Rockwood board of education bylaws, Strate will serve as president until board members meet again on Jan. 5; at that meeting, they plan to vote to reorganize board officer positions.

Susan Hunter DuBois December 24, 2011 at 03:36 AM
Sorry, I meant the misuse of influence not funds. That is the conflict of interest here - we can't prove smith misused his influence on the board but many of us feel that he did.
Eileen Tyrrell December 26, 2011 at 06:04 PM
Anne, To date the RS for RS blog @ rsdstakeholders.org has not received a comment from you; regarding any of our articles. Please feel free to visit and leave a comment for posting. Thank you.
Jim Nelson December 30, 2011 at 05:15 PM
The activities of the Rockwood School Board regarding Glenn Construction and former Board President Steve Smith are appalling in the extreme and recent effort to silence critics by Smith becoming a mere Director is laughable. The incestuous relationship between Glenn Construction and the Rockwood School Board has gone on for years and only recently revealed to the general public and the cost in efficiency and to tax payers is substantial. To my knowledge, Mr. Smith has never revealed or been asked to reveal his yearly income from Glenn deals with Rockwood; never revealed his contractual arrangement with Glenn; never revealed his percentage of income derived from Rockwood business. One might think such information is important in evaluating conflict of interest issues considering that Rockwood policy states “Members of the Board of Education will conduct themselves in a manner which complies not only with the letter of conflict of interest laws, but also in the spirit of those provisions. Board members will at all times make good faith efforts to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest”.
Jim Nelson December 30, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Regardless as the whether Mr. Smith recuses himself from certain discussions or votes, he has a long-time ally and supporter in now Acting Board President Janet Strate who has shown an unceasing ability to justify every outrageous act by the Board. One is a fool not to recognize that Strate’s close relationship and support for Smith does not end merely because Smith leaves the room during certain discussions. When recently confronted by concerned citizens about Smith’s conflicts she calmly said she didn’t know specifically what Smith does for Glenn. “It’s really not an issue,” she said. “He’s very knowledgeable, he’s very calm, he’s very thoughtful.” So much for looking out for Rockwood’s interests! Normally one would expect Patch to pursue Strate’s consistent lack of concern for serious mismanagement by the Board except that the Patch reporter on these matters, Julie Brown Patton, is a personal friend of Janet Strate. So much for conflicts of interest!
Julie Brown Patton December 30, 2011 at 09:06 PM
Jim Nelson, the information from Janet Strate provided in this article was what she read to everyone in attendance that night of this meeting. It's a matter of public record, and she appeared to be acting on behalf of the other board members. Feel free to ask others who attended the meeting. The purpose of this article was simply and solely to inform everyone that Mr. Smith's resignation of the board presidency had occurred. Thanks.


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