Under Gaines’ leadership, Mehlville poised for success

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

Superintendent Chris Gaines formally assumed the reins of the Mehlville School District on July 1.

Dr. Gaines comes to Mehlville from the 1,500-student Wright City School District, where he served as superintendent for the past seven years.

During his tenure in Wright City, Dr. Gaines was instrumental in increasing academic achievement, making it one of the most-improved districts in the state.

While Dr. Gaines is new to the job in Mehlville, he’s been a familiar face in the district over the past several months, attending Board of Education meetings and other functions.

He will attend his first school board meeting as superintendent tonight — July 16. The board will meet at 7 p.m. in the Administration Building, 3120 Lemay Ferry Road.

Dr. Gaines comes to Mehlville with his eyes wide open about the challenges facing the district. For example, at his first meeting as superintendent tonight, board members will begin looking at sample ballot language for a tax-rate-increase proposal and how that money might be used.

We’re sure that Dr. Gaines is well-aware of the last two ill-advised and ill-conceived tax-rate-increase proposals that were trounced by voters in February 2006 and November 2010. The decisions by past boards to promote those two unreasonable measures — 97 cents in 2006 and 88 cents in 2010 — resulted in long-term damage to the district that has taken years to overcome.

But a new group, the Mehlville-Oakville United Committee, recently kicked off its effort to unite the community around a “reasonable” tax-rate measure for the Mehlville School District this November.

We believe this new citizen-led group is building positive momentum for passage of a tax-rate measure that would help stabilize Mehlville’s precarious financial situation and perhaps provide some funding to begin implementation of the district’s strategic plan.

A strong public school system is the backbone of any community. We continue to be a staunch supporter of public schools and believe the vast majority of residents are ready to step up and support the Mehlville School District.

Dr. Gaines is a proven leader with a track record of great success.

We believe with Dr. Gaines at the helm, the Mehlville School District is well-equipped to embark on an era of unprecedented success.