Voters should nix Mehlville’s Prop R, force district back to the table

To the editor:

Regarding your Aug. 27 editorial, “Newspaper urges voters to approve Proposition R,” I completely disagree with your statement, “Critics’ so-called alternatives to a tax-rate increase are impractical, unworkable and inane.”

Let’s go through the plan. The alternative plan proposes:

• A 49-cent, temporary tax increase dedicated to the payoff of the district’s $58 million in certificates of participation debt — the legacy of the hapless Props P and T. This would pay off the debt in three years, then free up $9 million per year that could be spent on operating costs. Paying down debt is just common sense to most people.

• Freeze salaries for the duration of the temporary tax increase and adopt reasonable health insurance options. The private sector has been doing this since 2008. The dollars saved could be immediately directed to some of the pressing capital and academic needs the district has ignored for years.

• Parents are asked to increase their contribution to the cost of sports and non-academic activities. Again, dollars freed up here can be allocated to basic needs while focusing everyone’s attention on the core mission of the district — academics.

It is insulting and dishonest for the district and its supporters to frame a vote on a tax increase as a war that pits seniors and parochial parents on one side versus children who attend public schools on the other side. Sadly, the district has a long history of employing this divisive tactic — no wonder taxpayers have no trust in the district. The alternative plan asks everyone to come together, sacrificing to improve the educational outcome for our children.

Impractical, unworkable, inane? Hardly. Does it require hard choices and sacrifices from everyone? Absolutely. Voters should say “no” to Prop R and force the district back to the table.


to learn more about the district that wants another $8 million of our dollars.

Jane Conder