Ocello: Board cares what community thinks

In a recent issue of the Call, Mr. Jim Stonebraker wrote a very long letter about the Mehlville School District.

I trust readers of the Call to make their own judgment about the contents of that letter and to research the facts before reaching conclusions in these matters.

There is one issue, though, I would like to address. Mr. Stonebraker wrote in his letter that the “board should stop pretending that they care what we think.”

If I’ve said anything in meetings that can be interpreted as something other than complete and total support for an open community discussion of the various issues facing our district, I want to apologize for that. I care what community members think and I know my colleagues on the board also care.

It is only through widespread, open and honest discussion of issues that our school district will improve. That is what our COMPASS program is all about. That is why I fully support this program.

I encourage every single member of our community to participate. I encourage Mr. Stonebraker to attend COMPASS meetings and express his opinions. They are opinions that should be voiced and heard in our community-engagement program.

While participants will learn from Mr. Stonebraker, perhaps he will also learn what other community members value and think about public education.

And by talking and working together, we can reach consensus about goals for our district and how to accomplish them.

Our kids — our community — deserve nothing less.

Micheal Ocello

Oakville

Editor’s note: Mr. Ocello was elected to the Mehlville Board of Education in April 2006 and currently serves as board secretary. The next COMPASS meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, at Bernard Middle School, 1054 Forder Road. A technology fair will precede the meeting from 5 to 7 p.m.