Achievement scores key to becoming a ‘destination’ school district

To the editor:

I want to thank the Call for its reporting on the school district and the fire district in Mehlville.

Without this reporting, I would be in the dark. The Call reports that hundreds of “district teachers, residents and parents took a strategic-plan survey and agreed overwhelmingly that they are positive about Mehlville” — but diverged on aspects of governance and especially money.

I wonder if those who took the survey knew the achievement scores for math and English — 44 percent and 43 percent not being proficient in these most important areas. It would be important when taking such a survey to know this.

Those tennis courts and the new performing arts center were sold as practically a necessity if we wanted to be a “destination” school district. But it is the achievement scores that matter in making any school district a destination for parents of students.

I guess the way to stampede your way to a tax-rate increase is to spend big and then plot later to convince the citizens that since the reserves are being spent for recurring expenses and teacher salaries, a tax-rate increase is a must because after all it’s “for the children.”

The most surprising thing was the Call reported that “starting now the administrators and the school board pledge that decisions about the district will be made with long-term planning and the voice of the community in mind.” What a grown-up concept — “long term-planning.” There will have to be a lot of growing up to do to morph to mature thinking. And maybe some economics classes also?

As far as school superintendents go, I don’t think we should pay much attention to whatever any school superintendent says or how many town halls he or she has, since that job is a transient job. Like migrant workers, they migrate every few years.