Time for Mehlville residents to step up, invest in schools, children

To the editor:

Much of the public debate surrounding the Mehlville School District budget has focused on wants versus needs, particularly by those who oppose investing any more money in our schools.

The truth is this community needs funding to restore the quality of our schools.

Proposition R would increase the district’s tax rate by 49 cents, and the financial impact on the owner of a home valued at $150,000 is extremely low. Will we really deny the children of Mehlville and Oakville a better education when the weekly cost is two cups of gas station coffee? That’s right, Prop R will raise property taxes $2.76 per week on a $150,000 home. A medium cup of coffee at a local convenience store costs $1.38, including tax, so two cups a week cost the same as the levy increase.

Improving our schools could also end up putting money back into everybody’s pockets. Better schools mean higher property values, and a one percent increase in that $150,000 home means an extra $1,500 in value. That can buy a lot of convenience store coffee.

It is true that a very small segment of our community feels a financial pinch when taxes or the cost of daily necessities increase, and that is unfortunate. But the loudest voices aren’t necessarily the people struggling to pay their bills. For the past decade, they, and all of us, have enjoyed nearly flat property taxes and our school system has paid the price.

It’s time for all of us to step up and invest in our schools, children and community. Is two cups of coffee each week really too much to ask?

Kevin Schartner