Lindbergh School District superintendent offers a cure for the ‘blahs’

To the editor:

In a recent letter to the editor, Mr. Smoot opened with a case of the blahs: “Gold Star, Blue Ribbon school, ‘Responsible Renovation,’ a school board that ‘only takes what is needed,’ blah, blah, blah.”

It may be “blah, blah, blah” to Mr. Smoot, but to the many families and students of Lindbergh, the successes of the district represent opportunities for scholarships and college admission. To the staff members who have worked to achieve these accomplishments, they reflect a commitment and passion for the mission of the district: To develop competent and caring graduates through exceptional programs, services and personnel.

The blah, blah, blahs that Mr. Smoot so readily dismisses are the very things that “really responsible” citizens want and expect from their school district:

• Five consecutive “Distinction in Performance” awards from the state.

• A high school listed among the top in the country by News-week Magazine for two consecutive years.

• A 95.57-percent attendance rate.

• A college admissions rate above 90 percent.

• $5.5 million in college scholarships.

• Two Blue Ribbon schools, three Gold Star schools and a National School of Character.

• Programs such as poms, journalism, DECA, International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, as well as band and orchestra programs — all nationally recognized.

• Schools that have been recognized by the state Legislature for “giving back” to the community — just to name a few.

All of these have been accomplished while:

• Keeping taxes low — $2.829 operating levy, second lowest in St. Louis County, and below the $3.34 levy considered adequate by the state.

• Receiving clean audits for 15 years.

• Voluntarily rolling back $32 million in uncollected taxes during the past 15 years, using only what has been needed.

• Refinancing bonds to save the Lindbergh taxpayers at least $2.287 million during the past eight years.

• Hiring and retaining some of the most qualified teachers/administrators and support personnel in St. Louis County.

• Holding per-pupil expenditures to $7,911 per pupil; 17th lowest of 23 county districts.

• Maintaining an administrator to student ratio of 249 to 1; well above the state average of 207 to 1.

It may be “blah” to Mr. Smoot, but to the families and students of Lindbergh School District, it means a quality education. To the taxpayers of Lindbergh School District, it translates as responsible leadership by the Board of Education, improved property values, and a great return on investment for the community.

In 2006-2007, I want to assure the Lindbergh community — families and taxpayers alike — that we are committed to generating more “blahs.”

Superintendent James A. Sandfort

Lindbergh School District