After massive tax-rate hike, Mehlville’s test scores ‘an embarrassment’


To the editor:
This is an embarrassment. It’s been two years since Mehlville School District voters approved a massive tax-rate increase, yet reading and math scores have dropped relative to the state.
It’s clear from the recent letters from Parkway West High School teacher Kimberly Hanan-West and Mehlville Board of Education member Kevin Schartner — both of whom worked to pass that Proposition R tax-rate increase — that the educational cartel does not want accountability. They just want to make excuses and blame others.
It’s like they are both reading off the same script: We need more time, the district is in the beginning of an uptrend and everyone needs to be patient and supportive.
Even the administration would not pledge to get the district’s math scores up to the state average next year, with Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Tina Plummer saying, “That’s a lofty goal …”
What if former Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa had said that about his team’s personnel?
The board needs to address this situation immediately, and Superintendent Chris Gaines and Tina Plummer need to give an accounting to district taxpayers and parents.
As a 46-year resident and taxpayer in this district, I expect Mehlville to be higher than state averages in both reading and math and not below Hancock and Bayless and far below Lindbergh. It’s not only embarrassing, but it hurts our property values — which Prop R was supposed to fix.
According to the Call, former board President Ron Fedorchak “has historically voted against teacher contracts if they do not include more school days.”
It’s misleading at best and dishonest at worst for Ms. Hanan-West to imply Mr. Fedorchak wants to lengthen the school year “without a plan to pay teachers.” It’s all about the educational cartel wanting to protect the long summer break and somehow claim an increase in pay is not a raise.
Stop with the excuses, stop blaming others, as you are in charge now. You got your tax-rate increase. Be more accountable to the taxpayers and parents and get to work helping students learn the basics.
By the way, I agree with Mr. Fedorchak: Kids should spend more time in school.
Ken Meyer

Editor’s note: Mr. Meyer is a founding member of the Mehlville Community Taxpayers Association.