Investment in Mehlville schools an investment in community’s future

To the editor:

Recently, the Mehlville Board of Education approved a plan to request a tax-rate increase on this November’s ballot.

This plan was carefully considered after countless hours of community meetings in an important effort to help solidify the future of the Mehlville Community. Let’s face it, there is never a good time to ask people to dig into their pockets; however, these are critical times. In fact, I believe Mehlville is at a defining moment in our history, a tipping point if you will — one that will shape the future of our community and our children.

From a historical perspective, one does not need to look far around the St. Louis community to find once-thriving neighborhoods with strong schools now depleted and blighted. These transformations did not take place overnight. Slowly over time, all communities change. But in some communities, people forget to continue investing in foundational things like their local schools. As a result, property values drop and the spiral begins. It is very clear that so goes the school system, so goes the surrounding community. You will not find a thriving community without a strong public school system.

Over the past several years, the Mehlville School District has demonstrated some of the best examples of democracy and transparency by inviting caring and dedicated community members together to create a vision for the future. In order for the vision to become a reality, the community will need to support these efforts. The plan developed through COMPASS II — Charting the Oakville-Mehlville Path to Advance Successful Schools — is ambitious and will require additional financial resources and human capital in order for us to compete with surrounding school districts and communities. The south county area needs to retain its talented young families and do more to attract others to the area — things only a strong school system will do.

As an alumnus and lifelong resident of the Mehlville School District, and now the parent of two students in Mehlville schools, I am proud of this community. I hope to continue to live in a strong community that supports sustainable structures for our future. Our students and children deserve the best we can offer. It would be nice for our children to grow up in a community they can be proud of for years to come and perhaps, someday, raise their own children in the same community. It is always difficult to give more, but please consider that you are investing in the future of an entire community by investing in our schools.

Desi Kirchhofer


Editor’s note: Desi Kirchhofer is a former member of the COMPASS Facilitating Team and currently serves as an assistant superintendent in the Parkway School District.