Search for new Board of Education commissioner put on hold

Friday, March 19, 2010 | 6:21 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Coordinating Board for Higher Education voted Thursday to postpone its search for a new commissioner as a result of diminishing state resources.

In an emergency session via a conference call, the board agreed to put off the hunt for four to six weeks until more decisions are made about potential changes to the Department of Education.

“The board agreed that additional time will ensure a well-informed decision,” said Lowell Kruse, chairman of the board.  “We want to be part of the solution for making government more efficient.”   

Robert Stein, the current commissioner of higher education, will retire July 1.

The Missouri state government is working on a plan to reduce the number of employees on the state’s payroll. In keeping with this need, Stein told the board he wanted to lay off about a quarter of the department’s general revenue-funded positions by the end of the fiscal year. In addition, he said he will reorganize staff for smaller, more effective departments.

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