Mehlville, Oakville taxpayers ‘anything but forgotten,’ reader contends

To the editor:

The Mehlville School District’s current budget crisis continues to fuel an important discussion about the difficult intersection of the cost of quality public education and a community’s ability and/or willingness to pay for it.


correctly points out that people on low or fixed incomes may have trouble dealing with a potential levy increase in the Mehlville School District. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that some families struggle every month to balance their checkbooks.

The question for this and every community — do you want to use the poverty line as the benchmark for funding your school system? Setting a tax rate so low that everyone can easily afford it virtually guarantees educational failure.

Mehlville’s tax rate is the second lowest in St. Louis County.

Neighboring Lindbergh’s tax rate is 71 cents higher. Claiming to be overtaxed is a popular political theme these days, but it simply isn’t true in Mehlville. And based on assessed values, claims that Mehlville is a “poor” community aren’t true, either.

The letter also suggests that user fees for “non-essential services” are a solution. We could use the same logic for the funding of roads. Why should people who don’t use Telegraph Road pay for repairs to that roadway?

The answer is easy — roads are a community asset.

Great schools are also a community asset that attract growing families and increase property values. And because they impact an entire community, schools should be funded by the community as a whole. Implementing fees for bus transportation and school clubs, as Mehlville is doing for the 2015-2016 school year, may be necessary in the short term, but it only weakens the foundation of the district.

Taxpayers in Mehlville and Oakville are anything but “forgotten.” They provide strength and leadership to this community and they are vital to the success of our schools and our children.

Of all the taxes I pay, the ones that fund education are the easiest to justify.