Oakville resident makes an effort to ‘fix stupid’

Most every night, a former south countian told his radio audience that “you can’t fix stupid.” After reading campaign literature from Mehlville school board candidates Chris Brown, David Bertelsen and Linda Mooy, I feel I ought to try.

As a leader of the Fair for All coalition, I am one of many who has advocated for a more equitable distribution of state education funds. The bottom line is simple: Since St. Louis County follows state law on assessments, we get screwed.

Several years ago, we estimated that county residents send in excess of $100 million each year to Jefferson City to improperly subsidize out-state schools.

When those out-state schools sued to get more of our money, many local districts joined a defensive coalition to counter that demand. The supporting districts contribute about $1 per pupil per year. At risk is thousands of dollars per pupil per year.

Last year, a small-town judge ruled the state doesn’t have to treat all taxpayers equally. He also said the out-state districts shouldn’t get as much more of our money as they wanted, so, of course, both sides are appealing the decision. This matter will wind up before the state Supreme Court.

Even after the high court responds, the threat to St. Louis County taxpayers will remain. We will spend decades trying to offset the mindset vocalized by state Rep. Shannon Cooper about his out-state people: “We want good schools, we just don’t want to pay for them.”

In Mehlville’s case, being part of this fight is good business sense, not waste.

Artificial turf seems like a luxury until you look hard at the numbers and the utility. The upfront price is higher, but you pay that once. You pay people to maintain a real grass field every payday.

Plastic grass allows the football team, the band and every gym class to play on the surface all day long. As anyone who has stepped on to a local football field in mid-October can tell you, most grass fields become mud fields before the season ends.

For the record, my wife and I have one daughter. She never attended a day in public schools. She went to parochial grade schools and a private high school before going to a private college.

Over the years, I have found fault with many actions by the Mehlville School District. Let’s not tar them until they deserve it.

Glenn Koenen