The Mehlville School District is facing serious financial choices and it needs the public’s support.
The district probably will not get the support and this is why: The recent public survey shows the Mehlville Board of Education is not trusted by the internal or external community. This lack of trust is clearly defined by the board’s fluctuating decision-making. Some great examples:
Public debate on coal — When you’re trying to build public confidence wouldn’t it be wise to focus on real school issues?
Instead, Mehlville became the first school district in Missouri to consider a resolution urging a utility to phase out and close the Oakville power plant. Wow, what a way to build public support. By taking on this issue they were sure to upset a large segment of the community. The vast majority of the public viewed this as a total waste of time. What were they thinking?
Riverview Gardens — While the board chose a sensible path by setting enrollment at the state-recommended level, board President Ron Fedorchak opened Mehlville up to litigation by making misguided statements about past enrollment figures and suggested that Mehlville could and should take all Riverview students.
His assertions were wrong as the configuration of the schools had changed and it wasn’t possible. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the threatened lawsuit never happened. Way to go, Ron.
Spent reserves on salaries — When the reserve fund reached 21 percent, rather than replacing aging buses or air conditioners, this school board used it for salary increases. Because these are recurring expenses, we will soon have no reserves and the buses and air conditioners will still need to be replaced.
The Mehlville School District has needs, but the current school board is not meeting those needs.
We need to elect better leaders to the Mehlville school board starting April 7.