Town-hall meetings continue to discuss Mehlville’s goals

Town-hall meetings under way to inform residents about goals adopted by the Mehlville Board of Education are reaching people who did not participate in the district’s public-engagement process.

“We’re reaching a lot of people out there,” said Dan Fowler, co-chair of the COMPASS — Charting the Oakville-Mehlville Path to Advance Successful Schools — Facilitating Team.

Fowler and Jim Schibig, his fellow Facilitating Team co-chair, are serving as hosts of the town-hall meetings in conjunction with Board of Education President Tom Diehl and one or two board members.

The Facilitating Team, comprised of residents, employees, board members and students, whittled recommendations gathered at a series of public-engagement sessions into final goals for the district. The Board of Education recently adopted those recommendations as its vision and the town-hall meetings are designed to help residents better understand those goals.

Members of the district’s Facilities Planning Team also have been present to further explain the group’s long-term recommendations for work to be done at each building in the district.

The team’s long-range plan includes such programs and services as all-day kindergarten, early childhood expansion, English Language Learner teachers, counselors and elementary remedial reading teachers and boosting staff salaries so they would “become equal to the county average.”

In June, the Facilitating Team recommended two ballot measures for this November to the school board — a transfer of roughly 31 cents per $100 of assessed valuation from the debt-service fund to the operating fund and a 37-cent tax-rate increase.

After reviewing survey results of 400 residents compiled in July by consultant UNICOM•ARC, the board voted to place the transfer issue on the ballot as 64.8 percent of respondents said they would favor it.

That ballot issue, Proposition T, will be decided by voters in the Nov. 4 election.

Because 49 percent of survey respondents opposed a 37-cent tax-rate increase, board members decided not to pursue that increase in the November election. And to improve survey results that showed only 30.3 percent of participants were familiar with COMPASS while 69 percent were not familiar with the program, Fowler suggested town-hall meetings be conducted.

Those meetings kicked off Sept. 10 and the reaction so far has been very positive, Fowler said.

“At our town-hall meetings, we’ve gotten a tremendous reception from parents within the community regarding the COMPASS proposal,” he said. “It’s been well-received within our school district.

“The real job now, of course, is to get the word beyond parents …”

The remaining town-hall meetings will take place at 7 p.m. as follows:

Oct. 2 — Trautwein Elementary School, 5011 Ambs Road.

Oct. 7 — Forder Elementary School, 623 W. Ripa Ave.

Oct. 8 — John Cary Early Childhood Education Center, 3155 Koch Road.

Oct. 14 — Mehlville Senior High School, 3200 Lemay Ferry Road.

Oct. 15 — Oakville Senior High School, 5557 Milburn Road.

Oct. 21 — Hagemann Elementary School, 6401 Hagemann Road.

Oct. 23 — Oakville Elementary School, 2911 Yaeger Road.

Oct. 27 — Point Elementary School, 6790 Telegraph Road.

Oct. 29 — Rogers Elementary School, 7700 Fine Road.