South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Residents make right call by voting to pass Prop R

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

Mehlville School District residents made the right call last week when they approved Proposition R with nearly 73 percent of the vote.

Residents should be proud of themselves for uniting to support their school district and community and approving Mehlville’s first tax-rate increase in 15 years.

The Prop R 49-cent tax-rate increase will generate roughly $8 million annually and allow district officials to begin implementing Mehlville’s new strategic plan by buying textbooks and hiring 16 reading and instructional coaches for struggling students.

Funds also will be used to restore some of the $3 million in budget cuts that went into effect this year, including tutoring, student clubs and library books.

Prop R is a game-changer for Mehlville, as district officials will not have to make $3 million to $5 million in cuts for the coming school year.

Prop R has no shortage of heroes.

A great deal of credit goes to Norm Ridder, who served as interim superintendent for the 2014-2015 school year. Under Dr. Ridder’s direction, the foundation for Prop R was paved with the creation of the strategic plan.

The strength of that plan provided a seamless transition for Chris Gaines, who assumed the superintendent’s post on July 1. Dr. Gaines clearly articulated what Prop R would do for the district and what the consequences would be if it failed.

Members of Mehlville-Oakville United worked tirelessly for Prop R and are to be applauded for their efforts to rally residents to support the school district and the community.

Another hero would be prominent Republican Mark Haefner, who had the foresight to realize that failure of Prop R would not only devastate the school district, but the community as well. He had the intestinal fortitude to buck the anti-tax, anti-public education stance embraced by the majority of south county GOP leaders.

Then there’s board member Lori Trakas, who voted against placing Prop R before voters.

Trakas continually puts the interests of a handful of self-serving Republicans over the educational welfare of the students she is ethically bound to represent — not to mention that she reportedly worked the polls against Prop R on Election Day.

In a letter to the editor opposing the passage of Prop R, Trakas wrote, “Our kids deserve better.”

Believe it or not, Trakas is correct — Mehlville’s children do deserve better than her.

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