Mehlville 1990s-era teachers not greedy, retired educator asserts

To the editor:

I’m writing specifically to you, Mike Anthony, in response to your editorial in the July 21 edition of the Call.

You charged that, “… It’s taken that district (Mehlville) nearly two decades to recover from the damage wrought by its 1990s-era teachers.”

You referenced our wearing black shirts with the slogan, “Budg-et Teachers First.” I wore one of those shirts and on the back it concluded, “We’re tired of being last.”

I believe you assume our insistence was unjustified. I’ll explain to you why we were completely justified.

For several years in the late 1980s/early 1990s, my salary as a Mehlville teacher actually decreased each year as my personal cost for family health insurance rose more than the tiny salary increment I received.

None of my bills decreased — but my pay did, causing my family real financial hardship.

Are you of the opinion that Mehlville could not afford to pay its teachers? While the median income of Mehlville residents was in the top one third of the county districts and the average assessed evaluation was also in the top third of districts, Mehlville teacher pay was consistently in the bottom third of the county districts.

For a while during this time period, Mehlville was the second-lowest-paying district in St. Louis County — only Wellston paid less.

We were justified in insisting that we should be budgeted first, not last. I, like many other Mehlville teachers, lived in the district, so my daughter could attend Mehlville. I still live in Mehlville and my grandchildren attend here.

Mehlville teachers are dedicated and professional, not greedy.

Your condemnation of us is wrong. I hope you’ll reconsider your opinion and admit your error, now that you have the facts.

Diane Muehlenbeck, retired Mehlville teacher