South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Mehlville board apparently rejects Webster’s definition of ‘credibility’

To the editor:

Webster’s defines credibility as “the power or quality of inspiring belief.”

Easy enough right? Except that our current Mehlville Board of Education members have apparently rejected Webster’s definition.

This past spring, the board voted for and instituted an obscene $44,000 pay raise for Superintendent Terry Noble. I’m sure Mr. Noble is a fine employee, but simply fulfilling the requirements of your job description does not justify that level of a pay increase.

That’s not exactly the type of action that “inspires belief” in the board’s leadership. As we all know, the public outcry was such that Mr. Noble wisely decided to reject the raise as well as additional perks, and settled for “only” a 6-percent raise.

Now, the school board again fails its leadership role by attempting to saddle the taxpayers of the district with a proposed tax-rate increase of 88 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. This decision comes after the U.S. Department of Labor reported the unemployment rate in the metro area hovering between 7 percent and 10 percent for the first half of 2010 and financial institutions reporting the number of dangerously delinquent mortgages in the metro area at 5.98 percent, according to the July 29 USA Today.

The board believes so strongly in this badly timed tax that it voted 6-0 — Vice President Venki Palamand was not present and did not vote — in favor of placing it on the Nov. 2 ballot and board President Tom Diehl was quoted as saying: “When you start cutting out to try and meet this mythical idea that people will only vote for something under 50 cents — which is a lot of crap — you wind up giving the people who want to support us no reason to support us …” Does that sound like credible leadership to you?

Of course, the same board is likely to throw the COMPASS II — Charting the Oakville-Mehlville Path to Advance Successful Schools — findings, participants and their laudable goals “under the bus” if there is the slightest indication that the taxpayers have figured out how the moneys might really be used.

The Call reported that the ballot wording for Proposition C states that of the 88 cents, “up to 40 cents of the increase” would be used to pay capital expenditures. How about the other 48 cents? Is the board prepared to publish an itemized list of where the rest of the money will go? If not, why not? Obviously, the Mehlville school board does not understand that their continued lack of credibility endangers support for any proposal at this time and is an indication of an inherent attitude of arrogance and condescension toward the people to whom they’re answerable, the taxpayers.

On Nov. 2, Mr. Diehl and the other school board members should be sent a message about the importance of credibility.

Rich Franz


Editor’s note: Information on how the Proposition C revenue would be spent is available by visiting the school district’s website at


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