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

New Mehlville School District superintendent will find ‘a tale of two districts’

Letters to the Editor

To the editor:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

As incoming Superintendent Dr. Jeff Haug takes the reins of the Mehlville School District, he will literally find “a Tale of Two Districts.”

Financially, Mehlville is in an unprecedented position of strength. Thanks to multiple tax increases, improved state funding and sharp increases in local real estate, revenues for the upcoming 2023/24 school year are expected to be $164 million, nearly $57 million greater than in 2015/16. That’s a stunning 53+% increase in just eight years, spread out over declining – 600 fewer students – enrollment. Mehlville spends more per student than Lindbergh, and that was before this year’s tax increase. The best of times.

At the same time, Mehlville has under performed academically. Using the latest available data, relative to state averages over the past seven years from 2015-2022, Mehlville has shown zero improvement in English scores, and just a single point improvement in math. ACT scores have declined, and Mehlville’s four year graduation rates dropped nearly six points and were actually below state average in 2022. In 2015, some 85% of graduates continued their education via college, technical school, or the U.S. military. By 2022, that same measure declined 13 points, to just 72% who continued their education

For a wealthy district, as measured by the percentage of students on free and reduced lunch, those are disappointing measures. Perhaps not the worst of times, but Mehlville can, and should be performing at a much higher level.

Leadership matters. I believe new Superintendent Dr. Jeff Haug was an outstanding choice and will work to address those deficiencies. His professional background, work ethic and leadership style are a solid match for Mehlville,

By effectively partnering with Mehlville’s dedicated, talented classroom teachers and support staff, I am optimistic we will finally see improved student performance.

Venki Palamand


Editor’s note: Mr. Palamand is a former president of the Mehlville Board of Education.

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