Mehlville school board drops the other shoe

To the editor:

The other shoe has dropped.

The Mehlville Board of Education will likely ask us taxpayers to give the district $7.5 million in new taxes to fund a number of operational items.

The taxes would be generated by a rate increase of 50 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. That is an increase of over 14 percent compared to the current tax rate for residential property. That’s a lot.

For what do they want the money?

Well, $630,000 is desired to reduce class sizes. How is class size lowered? In plain English, that means hiring teachers.

But wait, they want an additional $2,250,000 to attract and retain high-quality staff. In addition, and most curious, they want to be paid for the busing students that are no longer attending school and consuming district resources.

The district tells us in the Mehlville Mes-senger they receive “about $5,800 per de-segregation student.” The district will no longer get this tax money from the state of Missouri, so we residents are asked to re-place it with $2,580,000 locally.

For what? To teach fewer students with fewer teachers?

In summary, they want almost $5.5 million for staff and miscellaneous, and they want the remaining $2 million for buses, books and inflation.

A lot of numbers to consider, too many numbers, maybe.

The point is this: Do you believe these funds are needed or just wanted? What are the desired outcomes? Are you convinced that these requested amounts are estimated accurately? Most important, if this money is collected, and the desired outcomes are not attained, will there be any real ac-countability?

The recent history of the Mehlville School District is this: They know how to ask for money and they know how to spend money.

However, our experience with the Proposition P tax revenue tells me that the board does not care how much money the taxpayers must pay, as long as they get the projects and budgets they want.

Until the board returns some of the Proposition P funds to the taxpayers, they will not have my trust, and they will not have my vote for any tax increase.

Kent Bettale