Palamand’s achievements unsurpassed in Mehlville

In just a few short weeks, Venki Palamand will no longer serve on the Mehlville Board of Education.

And that’s unfortunate for the community, as the three-term board member has been a driving force in propelling Mehlville forward on the path to become a destination school district.

Palamand first was elected to the board in 2007 and served two terms before being defeated in his re-election bid in 2013. Some might have walked away after such a defeat — but not Palamand. He never wavered in his desire to serve, as he was elected to a third term the following year.

His decision not to seek a fourth term in next month’s election is a loss for the district’s students. We’d be hard pressed to think of a bigger advocate for students than Palamand.

In fact, he may be the most influential board member in a generation, as the initiatives he has proposed and supported during his tenure on the board continue to positively impact students and the district as a whole.

For example, Palamand was the driving force behind weighted grades, which the board adopted in December 2007. As he predicted at that time, the weighted-grade system encouraged students to challenge themselves, increasing academic achievement.

As the district reeled from a series of disastrous missteps, Palamand, along with then-Superintendent Eric Knost, served as a voice of reason and was instrumental in restoring the district’s credibility with the community.

Palamand’s contributions to the district have been countless, from helping develop the financing mechanism that allowed construction of the Nottelmann Auditorium on the Mehlville High campus to being the driving force behind the installation of solar panels at five district schools.

He served as board president three times — from 2011 to 2013 and from 2015 to 2016. His last term as president may have been the pinnacle of his service, as the district achieved what we believe is an unprecedented accomplishment — the passage of back-to-back ballot measures.

In November 2015, voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition R, a 49-cent tax-rate increase that changed the landscape of the district.

That was followed five months later with Proposition A, a 4-cent, no-tax-rate-increase tax transfer that places roughly $685,000 into a dedicated fund for replacement of roofs and aging HVAC systems.

We believe Palamand’s legacy of service on the board will remain unmatched for many, many years.