Approval of school district’s tax increase an investment in community

To the editor:

Who knew the answers to our public education problems are found at J.C. Penney?

At least that seems to be the answer from Virginia Kozel in her Aug. 19 letter to the Call. Evidently, according to Ms. Kozel, we don’t need more money for the Mehlville School District and shouldn’t pass some 97-cent tax-rate increase.

All we need is for our kids to stop shopping for clothes at American Eagle, Aeropostale, and — gasp — Abercrombie & Fitch.

Tone it down, kids.

Try a St. John’s Bay polo from J.C. Penney and stop dressing like school is a “fashion show,” as Ms. Kozel states. Then watch the learning start.

Of course, we could also try what nine out of 10 other school districts do in the area and spend more on our kids.

That’s right, of 11 school districts in the area, Mehlville is next to last in per-student expenditures; over $1,500 less per student than the average, according to the district’s website.

Yet the property tax rate allocated to public schools is 14 percent less in the Mehlville District than the average south county school district, according to the county’s website.

In doing a little math, I found that if the tax increase were put in place I would pay $338 more per year in taxes on my $200,000 three-bedroom ranch.

That’s less than a dollar a day. And that doesn’t take into account the increased tax deduction on my federal and state taxes.

I also know what any real estate agent will tell you: Property values are significantly affected by the quality of public schools in an area.

That $338 more per year is an investment; not only in the future of my community and country, but in my own wealth. It’s more than made up by the marginal value my home will realize when the Mehlville School District truly becomes a high-performing school district.

And for no other reason, I hope the measure passes because my daughter hates J.C. Penney.

Brett A. Boyle

Oakville

Editor’s note: The Mehlville Board of Education voted 6-0 last week to place an 88-cent tax-rate increase on the November ballot.