Mehlville’s ‘substantial cash reserves’ can cover reasonable spending

To the editor:

The Mehlville Board of Education is tasked with the stewardship of district resources — taxpayer dollars.

The board has a fiduciary responsibility to both district employees and district taxpayers.

To suggest, as interim Superintendent Norm Ridder does, that the time has come for taxpayers to provide additional resources for the district is disingenuous. Mehlville currently has substantial cash reserves to meet reasonable spending proposals.

The state has imposed a minimum 3 percent reserve fund requirement on districts. Our reserves are over three times that. Yet Ridder laments that in the 2015-2016 school year cash reserves could drop to 8 percent of the overall budget. Most any of us would be thrilled to have 8 percent of our household budgets stashed in cash.

Why is the board’s cash reserve target 13 percent? Do we really believe we need to raise taxes so that Mehlville can have cash reserves over four times the state’s own reserve fund requirement?

Lastly, when Ridder attempts to elicit support for a tax-rate increase by saying, “The Mehlville community has not passed a tax levy since 1998,” that does not mean that the district has not received increased tax dollars each and every year since.

Our family has lived in this district since 1997, and the portion of my real estate and property taxes given to the Mehlville School District has increased every year. If, as Ridder suggests, the school board is facing serious financial choices, then perhaps it can now better relate to the plight of the taxpayers who fund the district.