Mehlville’s ‘kids deserve better,’ Trakas says

To the editor:

The chicken or the egg, which comes first?

More accurately in the Mehlville School District’s case, the heading should read reserves, raises or ballot initiatives? On Oct. 15, the Board of Education voted 5-2 to change our reserve-level targets from 13 percent to 17 percent to 17 percent to 25 percent to prevent the possibility of having to borrow due to monthly cash-flow fluctuations. A 25-percent reserve equates to a huge $23 million. Why is this step being taken when no borrowing has taken place at the 13-percent to 17-percent level and MSD has an excellent bond rating?

In fact, last spring reserves were creeping up to the 20-percent to 21-percent level and the Mehlville National Education Association argued that the reserves were too high and the excess reserve money should be added to the base of teachers’ salaries. Many on this current board obliged, irresponsibly sending us into deficit spending with a recurring expense.

Next came the scare tactics related to our finances, creating panic: pink slips for teachers, threatening to abandon our gifted program, removal of bus transportation under one mile, smearing our lovely community on the airwaves and more.

Now the public is told we must pass Prop R to save the district. I can barely comprehend that this board has raised the reserve ceiling, taking us back to where this began just over a year ago. So I must ask which comes first — reserves, raises or ballot initiatives?

Please check

for more information related to Mehlville’s present and past practices.

Our kids deserve better.