Beware: Mehlville officials laying groundwork for tax hike/bond issue

To the editor:

Regarding your recent articles and column about the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors: It would be difficult to overstate the significance of what this board has accomplished.

Where else in the entire country do you hear about a situation where service and facilities have improved and taxes have been rolled back? I can’t think of even one.

The board is to be commended for its service and voters are to be commended for voting them into office. Board Treasurer Bonnie Stegman is up for re-election this April and I trust voters will turn out in big numbers to re-elect her to another six-year term.

But voters beware. Mehlville School District officials are laying the groundwork to scare voters into supporting another tax-rate increase/bond issue that is “desperately needed for the sake of the children.”

I’m sure we’ll also hear, “Bond issues don’t cost you a penny.” These tired clichés are code for misleading the voters.

Just as the Fire District Advisory Com-mittee for Tomorrow’s Emergency Ser-vices, or FACTS, process was used to mislead the public on the financial condition of the fire district, the school district is using its strategic planning process to do the same thing, and the current board is acquiescing to this sham.

The school district’s current financial condition — running a $5 million deficit — and miserable achievement scores — 44 percent of students are not proficient in math and 43 percent are not proficient in English language arts — are painful reminders of the poorly managed school district.

Rather than demand that district leaders address the real deficiencies, the board seems poised to promote the fantasy that a lack of funds is the cause of all our woes.

Thanks to the fire board, we’ve seen what can be accomplished when voters elect courageous reform-minded board members. I hope we do the same for the school board.

Lisa Pannett

south county