No Proposition R funds will be used for Choice School of Innovation

To the editor:

One of the more exciting initiatives occurring in the Mehlville School District is the Choice School of Innovation, or CSOI.

We are investigating an elementary school, based on “Problem-Based Learning,” that would be the first of its kind in the St. Louis area — a pilot for innovative teaching methods and reduced class sizes that would also benefit our existing schools. As with any project, there are challenges to overcome and moving forward with the CSOI is not a forgone conclusion.

We have limited resources and the first thing to know is that Proposition R funds will not be used to finance a CSOI.

The $8 million in Prop R funds are committed to the promises made during the Prop R campaign. The true costs of the CSOI are not yet defined and they will come from offsetting revenue increases or expense decreases.

Teacher development and technology improvements that happen regardless of teacher and student location will rightfully re-tain similar funding.

At the October Board of Eduction meeting, the board asked for the Finance Committee’s assistance to develop a five-year estimate and financial analysis. The Finance Committee kicked this off at a meeting on Nov. 9 and will have a report before a final CSOI decision is required.

Mehlville has performed remarkably well with our resources, but years of funding cuts have taken a toll. Our charge is to improve student performance within our financial means, which contributes to community prosperity.

To achieve this, we need to be open to making prudent choices that may not look like how we do things today. If a Choice School of Innovation is fiscally viable, it represents a big step forward for Mehlville’s education system.

Kevin Schartner

Oakville

Editor’s note: Kevin Schartner was elected to the Mehlville Board of Education in April and also served as treasurer of the Mehlville-Oakville United Committee that promoted Prop R.