Passage of Mehlville School District’s Prop R critical to community

To the editor:

According to Sue Jernigan, parents with school-age children attending Mehlville schools need to “shoulder more financial responsibility.”

I think a lot of parents would say, “We already do.”

How do we contribute? Let’s count the ways. Put me down for butter braids, cookie dough, Cardinal calendars, cheesecakes, trash bags, pizza, magazine subscriptions and trivia nights. We’ll go to school fundraisers at local businesses. I’ll present my shopper’s card at Schnucks, enter receipts into Shoparoo, donate clothing to schools, collect labels for school and cut box tops.

We also purchase gift cards through school and books at the fall and spring book fairs. Don’t forget cash donations.

Where’s the money going? PTOs are filling gaps that the district can’t, like purchasing smart boards, iPads and laptops. We’re funding the tutoring program that was cut, so kids that need help get it. Over the last decade, Mehlville has cut more than $58 million from the budget. We’ve lost 120 teachers. We literally have kids on a waiting list to work with a literacy coach because we only have one for every 2,275 kids.

We must get past the politics that are plaguing us and look at the facts. We can’t keep holding Mehlville’s new leadership hostage to decisions that were made by past leaders who aren’t even here.

No one wants to pay more taxes, but we haven’t approved a tax-rate increase in 15 years. Prop R is a 49-cent tax-rate increase that will help us restore much of what we’ve lost, but not everything.

A $200,000 home will see an extra $15.52 each month or $186.24 a year. If we fail, our community fails, because families won’t want to live here and businesses won’t stay here.

Lindbergh has hired 35 new teachers over the past two years.

That’s no accident. People are moving to Lindbergh because it’s a top-performing district and home values are high because of it.

We all have to make a decision on what kind of community we want to live in. It’s critical we pass Prop R on Nov. 3.

Ronnie Priefer

Oakville