South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Messenger not propaganda, letter writer says

To the editor:

This letter is in regards to Don Pavlacic’s letter that was printed in the Jan. 12 edition.

I did not consider the information in the Mehlville Messenger propaganda. In fact, I was very concerned to realize that only one other county district has a higher student-to-administrator ratio than the Mehlville School District. I also learned that the only thing preventing the Mehl-ville School District from earning a perfect 149 points during the 2003 Accredi-tation review was the number of administrators working for the district.

According to the state, Mehlville does not have enough administrators. This is significant because in times of financial difficulties, if administrators cannot be cut, then teachers and programs will be cut.

By law, Proposition P money may not be used for expenses. The money generated from Proposition P may not be used for textbooks, salaries or other classroom-related supplies. The state has a complicated formula for distributing funds to all of the districts. The state considers the Mehlville School District to be wealthy. Therefore, the state has not increased the amount of money it gives Mehlville in many years.

As we know, the cost of living increases each year. Mehlville receives $771 per student per year from the state. There are many districts in the state that receive over $5,000 per student. The state considers a base level of per-pupil spending to be about $6,117. Once again, the state gives Mehlville $771 per pupil. Mehlville does not receive any gambling money. The local district contributes over 80 percent of the Mehlville School District’s income.

Since Mehlville does not have a lot of industry and some of our businesses re-ceive tax breaks, the local homeowner carries this burden. I realize this is not fair.

It seems that people are displacing their anger at the district, instead of at the politicians who created this inequality.

I was not at all surprised that the average teacher spends $401.45 a year on additional supplies. When I was a teacher, I personally spent hundreds of dollars every year on many of the items mentioned in the Mes-senger. This was not in the Mehlville School District. Since I have not been a classroom teacher in over 10 years, I am sure the supplies have gone up significantly.

I buy my own children their school supplies and I pay for their field trips. Blades and Bernard both have active PTO and Mothers’ Clubs. These clubs raise a lot of money through fund-raising. Both schools have “Teacher Wish Lists” to which many families contribute.

As a parent with three children in the school district, I am concerned with the quality of education they will receive if this does not pass. As a homeowner, I am equally concerned with property values if this tax levy does not pass. I believe new families who are choosing public education will not move into a district that has less to offer their child than surrounding districts. Mehlville currently has 11,582 students enrolled.

I challenge all voters to become educated on this issue. There are many informative meetings open to the public. Patrick Wallace would answer any questions or concerns you may have. He is only a phone call away.

Mary Bathon


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