A report from Missouri says the state auditor may launch an investigation of state Commissioner of Education Chris Nicasrto, who gave a contract to an Indianapolis firm that was not the low bidder. The firm is known for its love of privatization as a cure for big-city schools.

Teachers unions, legislators, and the St. Louis branch of the NAACP have called for Nicastro’s resignation.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:

“Last week, the storm developing around Nicastro intensified after a release of department emails triggered questions about how it entered into a $385,000 contract with CEE-Trust, whose bid was three times higher than the next-highest of four bidders.

“The emails showed that Nicastro had been communicating with the firm’s executive director for four months before the contract was agreed upon in August by the state Board of Education.

“They also show that she tried to give the contract to CEE-Trust without seeking other bids, until members of the state board raised concerns about circumventing the typical bidding process.

“The contract is being paid by private dollars from two groups supportive of charter schools — the Kauffman Foundation and the Hall Family Trust.

“Late last month, other department records that became public showed that Nicastro had been consulting with Kate Casas, the state policy director for the Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri, about how to craft a ballot initiative petition aimed at eliminating teacher tenure. Rex Sinquefield, the billionaire investor and school choice advocate, is a primary backer of the organization.”