Mehlville officials monitoring state funding for education

The issue of tuition-free, full-day kindergarten will not be brought back to the Mehlville Board of Education until state funding is more secure, according to Superintendent Eric Knost.

Knost told the board at its Feb. 9 meeting he is monitoring the foundation formula at the state level.

“We are, daily, watching moves of the state Legislature, in regards to the foundation formula and funding for public schools,” Knost said.

Knost said it makes sense to discuss later in the spring, around May, after the Legislature has made its decisions on education funding.

“I think we can get there, we just want to make sure of it,” Knost said.

Board member Rich Franz suggested that Marsha Haefner, a Republican state representative from Oakville who serves on the House Budget Committee, be present when full-day kindergarten is brought up to the board again.

“I’d like to hear from them (state representatives), and get some reassurance of commitment to the funding formula,” Franz said.

Franz said his concern is how the district will pay for tuition-free, full-day kindergarten if two to three years into the program, the state removes the funding.

“We owe it to the taxpayers to be able to say … five, 10 years from now, we can absorb this thing into our budget … without shorting the other parts of the budget,” Franz said.

The board unanimously approved Knost’s proposal for tuition-free, full-day kindergarten in January.

In a separate matter, Knost announced Clayton Engineering will as the civil engineer for the tennis court complex that will be constructed at Bernard Middle School. Knost said Clayton Engineering did the engineering work when Bernard Middle School was built, so there is the assumption that they have records about the building.