Mehlville School District poised to move forward


The results of the April 4 Mehlville Board of Education election clearly indicate that residents want the school board and district to move in a new direction — forward.

It’s no secret that over the past three years that the district hasn’t been moving forward. And that’s a real shame because the potential exists for Mehlville to reclaim its rightful place as one of the best school districts in the state.

Tom Diehl and Micheal Ocello were the top vote-getters for two school board seats, defeating four other challengers, including two incumbents — Mike Heins and Bill Schornheuser — who were seeking their second three-year terms.

During their respective campaigns, Mr. Diehl and Mr. Ocello contended a majority of the current board was out of touch with the community, which no longer had faith in the district’s leadership.

The overwhelming defeat in February of Proposition A, a 97-cent tax-rate increase, and the two incumbents being ousted earlier this month certainly support that contention.

In interviews after the election, Mr. Diehl and Mr. Ocello said they were very appreciative of voters’ support and hoped to start work immediately to possibly reverse some recent actions of the previous board, particularly the decision to begin charging $375 per student for bus transportation for those who live within 3.5 miles of their school.

That was accomplished last week when the board voted 4-3 to reinstate free bus transportation for the 2006-2007 school year.

However, while free bus transportation will be provided to all students for the coming school, it will differ from the service currently offered.

The board voted to adopt a transportation option first presented in February to streamline existing bus routes, which will result in a projected savings of $350,000.

We have to admit that we were surprised to hear a minority of parents oppose the restoration of free bus service, not to mention their misguided defense of maintaining administrative posts. For those parents who said they were ready to write their $375 checks for bus service, we encourage you to do so and submit them to the district. We’re certain the money can be put to good use.

With the change in board membership and board leadership and a new superintendent to be hired, Mehlville, we’re pleased to say, is poised to make some great leaps forward.