Reader cites disconnect of Crestwood officials regarding schools

To the editor:

There is a troubling disconnect between the public face of certain Crestwood elected officials at Lindbergh Schools events, and their voting record on issues that bear hazardous long-term financial consequences for the district.

Take, for example, the celebration of Long Elementary School’s Blue Ribbon Award. After aggressively paving the way for a tax-increment financing, or TIF, designation of the former Crestwood mall property, who shows up to bask with the dignitaries? Proving they never met a photo-op they didn’t like, Crestwood Mayor Gregg Roby and Ward 2 Alderman Tim Trueblood flashed cheshire-cat smiles at the Lindbergh event, after their endorsement of tax breaks that could jeopardize those very same district schools.

During discussion on the request for proposals, or RFP, that was issued for the mall property, Ward 3 Alderman Paul Duchild pointed out that the RFP contained language indicating the city was prepared to offer tax incentives, including TIF, for redevelopment. All aldermen except Alderman Duchild and board President Mike Tsichlis of Ward 4 approved the language. With this vote, the majority of Crestwood’s elected officials have given up an essential bargaining tool before redevelopment negotiations have even begun in earnest. In their premature support of TIF, aldermen have already dealt our school district a financial blow. Superintendent Jim Simpson has said that when public money is diverted from our school district, as happens with a TIF, two generations of Lindbergh students will pay the price.

Perhaps the next time there is a celebration at Lindbergh Schools, those elected officials who have chosen to jeopardize the district’s finances might reconsider their basking in the shared glory of Lindbergh’s achievements.

Or, as Shakespeare put it: Et tu, Brute?