Mehlville board continues to engage district citizens

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

The Mehlville Board of Education and district administrators have a long history engaging residents, listening to their concerns and hearing their suggestions about how to improve the district.

That’s quite a contrast to some other elected bodies, such as the County Council, that impose unreasonable time limits on public speakers and whose disdain for the people they were elected to serve is all too evident.

But Mehlville officials have a history of wanting to listen to residents, going back to when Terry Noble served as superintendent. Noble and the board hosted Saturday Morning Café sessions throughout the district on a regular basis.

The sessions provided residents an opportunity to meet with Noble and board members in an informal setting to voice specific concerns about the district or provide feedback about Mehlville’s performance in general.

Former Superintendent Eric Knost conducted town-hall meetings at churches on a regular basis, providing residents a forum to speak, especially if they were uncomfortable going to a Board of Education meeting and signing up to speak during a period for public comment.

Knost’s town-hall meetings had no set agenda, but were driven by questions, comments, concerns and suggestions from residents in attendance.

That tradition of engaging residents continues today, as Superintendent Chris Gaines and the Board of Education continue to explore avenues to enhance communications between district officials and residents.

For example, the district recently launched Let’s Talk! — a new way for parents, students, staff and community residents to communicate directly with the people who oversee Mehlville schools.

Let’s Talk! is available by visiting

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Next week, the Board of Education will launch its new listening sessions to hold one-on-one conversations with residents. Gaines said the listening sessions, which will be held quarterly, will provide an opportunity for residents to have a one-on-one dialogue with the board.

The first session will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, at the Margaret Buerkle Middle School library, 623 Buckley Road.

We urge residents to take advantage of this opportunity to meet face to face with board members, and applaud the board for providing such a forum for its constituents.