St. Louis Call Newspapers

Call makes endorsements for school board elections

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

The Call makes endorsements for next week’s Lindbergh and Mehlville school board elections.


Five candidates — Michael Bitzenburg, Jennifer Miller, David Reinhardt, Mike Tsichlis and incumbent Gary Ujka — are seeking two seats.

While four of the five candidates can be termed outstanding, we believe Reinhardt and Tsichlis are the cream of the crop.

Reinhardt’s tireless devotion as a volunteer, particularly serving as co-chair of the Proposition G campaign committee, make him deserving of election to the board. Tsichlis’ track record of promoting transparency, ethics and accountability as a Crestwood alderman is impeccable. He would be a welcome addition to the board.

The Call endorses Reinhardt and Tsichlis.


Three candidates — incumbent Larry Felton, newcomer Kevin Schartner and incumbent Lori Trakas — are seeking two seats.

Felton, who has served on the board since 2007, has come into his own over the past year, demonstrating the maturity, vision and common sense needed to lead Mehlville forward.

Schartner’s work on the Prop R campaign, coupled with his leadership skills and long-range view of making Mehlville a destination district, more than qualify him to serve.

The Call endorses Felton and Schartner.

School district voters also will consider Proposition A, for AC, a 4-cent, no-tax-rate-increase tax transfer. Prop A would not increase the current tax rate, but would extend a 4-cent tax for facilities for another 10 years. If Prop A is approved, roughly $685,000 annually would be placed into a dedicated fund for replacement of roofs and aging HVAC systems.

Prop A is a simple, straightforward measure that’s a no-brainer. We urge voters to approve it.


Mehlville Fire Protection District voters will consider Proposition S for Simplify or Streamline, which seeks to consolidate the district’s general fund tax levy and alarm fund tax levy into one fund, resulting in the elimination of the alarm fund levy.

The district’s alarm fund currently levies 5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. As proposed, that 5 cents would be added to the general fund levy and the ambulance fund levy would be eliminated.

Prop S is also a no-brainer. We urge voters to approve it.

Call makes endorsements for school-board elections


The Lindbergh School District always is fortunate at election time in that many well-qualified candidates readily throw their hats in the ring.

This year is no exception.

Don Bee, incumbent board member Bob Foerstel, Kathleen O. Kienstra, Bill Klostermann and incumbent board President Mark Rudoff are seeking election to three seats on the Board of Education.

Mr. Rudoff, who has served on the board since 1999, is seeking his fourth and final term. In all our years of covering local government, seldom have we seen anyone serve with the distinction that Mr. Rudoff has, helping to keep decisions child-centered and fiscally responsible.

As board president since 2004, Mr. Rudoff repeatedly has demonstrated the ability to keep the entire board on target and focused in its discussions and deliberations, particularly in the selection of a successor to Superintendent Jim Sandfort, who is retiring at the end of the current school year. Assisted by Mr. Rudoff’s capable leadership, the board voted unanimously to select Joplin Superintendent Jim Simpson as Dr. Sandfort’s successor. We believe maintaining that continuity of leadership is important during the transition period and wholeheartedly urge voters to return Mr. Rudoff to the school board for a final three-year term.

We also believe incumbent board member Bob Foerstel should be elected to another term to maintain that continuity of board membership.

Because Mr. Klostermann does not appear to be actively campaigning for a seat on the board, we believe that leaves two outstanding candidates — Mr. Bee and Mrs. Kienstra. While either one would be an excellent addition to the Lindbergh board, we believe Mr. Bee has the slight edge given his long history of service to the district as an educator and coach.

In the Mehlville School District, eight candidates — David Bertelsen, Chris Brown, incumbent Karl Frank Jr., Drew Frauenhoffer, Marea Kluth-Hoppe, Deborah Langland, Linda Mooy and Erin Weber — are seeking election to three Board of Education seats that carry three-year terms.

In his three years on the school board, Mr. Frank has been a catalyst for positive change. The district is a much better place today than it was three years ago despite the financial challenges looming for the 2009-2010 school year.

We enthusiastically encourage voters to return Mr. Frank to another term along with Mr. Frauenhoffer and Mrs. Weber. These three candidates are the best suited to serve the Mehlville School District and its students. But don’t take our word for it. These three also have been endorsed by the Mehlville National Education Association and board President Tom Diehl.

While the district faces a looming financial crisis and fiscal responsibility is critical, we also believe the district should serve students first. Given that, we feel that some candidates value their wallet more than students’ needs. With Mr. Frank, Mr. Frauenhoffer and Mrs. Weber, you can rest assured that students and fiscal responsibility will BOTH be served — unlike other candidates.

About the Writer
Activate Search
Call makes endorsements for school board elections