Mehlville forms Advocacy Committee to keep eye on law

Larry+Felton+speaks+at+2018+meeting+while+wearing+a+bowtie.

Larry Felton speaks at 2018 meeting while wearing a bowtie.

By Erin Achenbach, Staff Reporter

The Mehlville Board of Education started a legislative advocacy committee this year to stay up to date on bills and legislation being considered by the Missouri General Assembly that could affect public education.

The school board established two advocacy committees at the Dec. 17 meeting via charter: A Mehlville School District Advocacy Committee and a Board of Education Advocacy Committee. Both are charged with much of the same thing — developing and reviewing the district’s “Advocacy Priorities” document and tracking local, state and federal legislation that may affect the district.

The district uses the document when it meets with local elected officials to guide conversations, and the advocacy committees are also in charge of scheduling meetings as needed with local representatives.

The School District Committee focuses on legislation that impacts districts as a whole, while the Board Advocacy Committee focuses on legislation that relates to school boards.

At the Jan. 21 board meeting, board director Larry Felton said he suggested the idea because he wants to give the board a better understanding of legislation.

“I think this highlights the need for the board to have a better understanding of what’s going on and not just depend on these big issues that come through,” said Felton. “I would like to serve on that committee. It was my idea and if it doesn’t work, it’s all my fault. … But I would like to serve on that … and hopefully educate a couple other folks to carry on.”

Felton added that he believed it was important that members for both committees be the same to help with continuity and understanding of the issues: “Continuity — that’s  going to be important.”

Board member Jean Pretto, who has previously run for state representative twice in the 94th District, volunteered to serve on both committees, alongside Felton and board member Jeff Wolman.

So far this year, the committee has met three times. The legislative session ended May 14.

Editor’s note: This has been updated with the correct spelling of Jeff Wolman’s name and clarified Larry Felton’s position on the board.