Election Results: Mehlville Proposition C – Need New Vision/Leadership!

One of the local issues United for Missouri became involved in was the Mehlville Public Schools Proposition C tax levy increase.  Many of the supporters of the measure, most of whom posted anonymously, didn’t like the fact we pointed out it was 25% levy increase or that the Board of Education (BOE) offered a nearly identical percentage increase to the Superintendent’s salary or the fact that the BOE failed to make the case of why Proposition C was even needed during these tough economic times. Whether with one, some or all of the above issues the voters agreed and decisively voted against Proposition C.

We have suggested that the BOE actually have a process that involves the community and results in something they can support and not one that produces the answer the board wants.  Those involved in the process didn’t like that suggestion either.  The BOE might also want to consider the economics of their patrons and put only what is absolutely necessary on the next ballot proposal.

The voters of the district sent a loud message to the BOE. The question is, will they be Harry Reid in their response or will they actually listen? You can bet the patrons of the Mehlville Public School District will be watching! and so will we!

Carl Bearden
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18 Responses to “Election Results: Mehlville Proposition C – Need New Vision/Leadership!”

  1. Liz says:

    Tell me about your horse in this race.

    Calling it a 25% levy increase is/was misleading. It suggests you’d be paying 25% higher taxes. That wasn’t true. It would have raised the average area homeowner’s taxes less than 18%. You see…it was a 25% increase on the school portion of the tax only…which is about 56% of our local real estate tax. 1st example of misleading information put out by MCTA…an organization that made sure to only post their POV on their blog.

    2nd example of misleading information…pointing out Terry Noble’s pay raise. He was offered a significant raise in the spring. He turned it down over the summer. He was offered a raise commensurate with his experience and he accepted it and a measly 1 year contract. That’s a mistake. He is responsible for the education and the well-being of almost 11,000 children every single day. He’s responsible for the supervision of what? 1000 employees every day? How much should a person with that level of responsibility be paid? It’s not like there are a lot of folks qualified for the position just hanging out waiting to get hired.

    3rd bit of misinformation…the BOE made available to anyone interested ALL the facts of Prop C and where the money would be spent and WHY it was needed. Folks in SoCo just chose to not avail themselves of the information.

    4th bit of misinformation…it was pointed out to you already that the community engagement process was years in the making. People had the opportunity to participate. They chose not to do so. Clearly, they didn’t value the process when it was offered to them before but now you want the money spent to do it all over again? Help me understand that… who should lead the process? How would you have it run? Again…tell me about your horse in this race. I was at the COMPASS and COMPASS II meetings. They were attended by parents, district patrons and employees who cared enough to be involved in making this a high performing district. You weren’t there because you don’t live in the district. Where was Kurt Witzel or Aaron Hilmer or Matt Chellis? Where was the rest of the MCTA?

    Sure, gentlemen, be proud that you successfully helped run the district into the ground. Be proud that you will impact the education of 11,000 kids for years to come. Be proud that your incredible lack of regard for the children of this district and the community itself will go down in history as another example of ignorance winning.

    • Carl Bearden says:

      Are you an attorney? On one hand you admit it was a 25% tax levy increase which is what we said. On the other hand, you deny it.

      You are welcome to your opinions on what you think was misinformation. It wasn’t, but that’s ok if you want to believe it was. Let me hit just two of your statements.

      How do you know people of SoCo didn’t avail themselves of the information on Prop C? People I spoke with knew the info but it was unconvincing. This “the people are ignorant” view and not listening to constituents is what got lots of people tossed from Washington Tuesday. It’s also why Prop C lost.

      The other point is the community involvement process. If it were as stellar as you try to make it and it truly reflected the view of the community Prop C would have passed.

      By the way, I’ve only been to one horse race in my life.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I sure wish you all had been behind us in opposing the Kirkwood School District’s recent bond proposals. Maybe we could have defeated both proposals set forth by the district!
    Prop 1 passed ($33 Million) for property expansion. We are a stagnant district in terms of population numbers. The Prop 2 measure lost, it was mainly for a $15 Million aquatic center. Some citizens believe it is a NECESSITY to have a pool in a high school. I believe content and local control of curriculum is paramount; which Missouri school districts cannot control because of federal mandates.
    Please keep your eye on KSD. I’m sure more proposals are in the offing. But first we’ll have to deal with the operating levy increases that will be coming to pay for the staffing and increased maintenance for the new additions. And I’d like to add….we are currently deficit spending. This is not the district of fiscal responsibility.

    • Carl Bearden says:

      We are more than happy to assist community grassroots efforts Our approach to getting involved in areas is usually grassroots folks contact us with an issue. We review their issue to try to determine the basis and validity of it. We are not interested in helping people grind axes. If the issue has a valid position, we get engaged.

      Sometimes the solution is not always the one you might think it should be. In the case of a tax levy, it’s either up or down if it’s already on the ballot. If the proposal is still in the formative stage, it’s better to try to influence and shape the issue.

      Please contact us in the future http://www.unitedformissouri.org/paul-revere-page.

  3. Liz says:

    You should have further investigated your support of the MCTA… they most certainly had an axe to grind.

    Oh…and 25% of of 56% isn’t 25%….just wanted to clarify that for you.

    • Carl Bearden says:

      But it was a 25% tax levy increase!

      MCTA may or may not have had an axe to grind but they were correct in their opposition to Prop C.

      The voters told you so.

  4. Liz says:

    Nope. 25% of the school portion of the tax does not equal a 25% increase. It just doesn’t. You can’t keep saying it and make it so. For my home it would have been a roughly 16% increase. Not 25%.
    You claim that you don’t support a grassroots effort w/ an axe to grind. Obviously you failed to do your homework.

  5. Greg Zotta says:

    A friend of mine, Vince Ventimiglia was opposed to this tax increase and said he would fight against it in the future. Of course the proponents of higher taxes are going to use the CHILDREN as a crutch to tug at heartstrings to get more money out of the citizens. Wasn’t the Superintendent to receive a hugh pay increase until it came to light? So much for caring about the children.There is the posibility of the supporters of the tax to put it back on the ballot in the spring.

    • Liz says:

      Well, no one is a proponent of higher taxes…duh. We’d all prefer that we pay low taxes. The fact is people who supported this measure would looking beyond their own bottom line and sharing a vision for the future success of this school district and the community as a whole.
      Please, do your research regarding superintendent pay and level of compensation for like-sized districts in our state. Please do your research regarding the cost of engaging in a search for a new superintendent, for the rate of pay for new superintendents in the area for a district of similar size. Please do your research on the PSRS system and understand the reasons that the BOE extended the original offer to Terry Noble.
      No one hid Terry Noble’s pay increase offer in the spring. It was absolutely available and the BOE was very open in explaining the reasons for the offer. The district would have kept a highly qualified superintendent for 3 years. Now, with the current contract being 1 year and the man working for about what he’d take home if he retired…how long would you expect him to stay.

      With the community as it is, with the hostility towards public education, with nastiness that is MCTA, who exactly is going to take the job as superintendent? Does the community really think that someone will take this job for a lower rate of pay? Kirkwood, Brentwood, Hazelwood all pay their superintendents more…. Heck, Brentwood has fewer than 1000 students!

      • Carl Bearden says:

        I guarantee someone will take the job as Superintendent. The pay is greater than the job and when you can get sweetheart deals like this, who wouldn’t?

        It’s a fact I’ve looked at these things for a very long time. There is a reason that public school districts and their allies get all upset when the legislature in the past has worked on a bill placing the superintendent’s full compensation package on-line, not just the salary but everything. The reason? They know that the patrons will get very upset with the results. Of course the response to that patrons is usually, “you just don’t understand what it takes to be superintendent. No one will want the job if we don’t overpay.” I would be I’ve been more involved in these types of discussions than you have and have seen this time and time again.

        It’s been a while since more money has helped the kids anywhere but has gotten more employees and higher salaries for superintendents. Mehlville’s losing case against the state proved that more money does not equate to better education. It does result in more employees and higher superintendent salaries.

        There is an active unwritten practice in public education to have one area push for higher something and then the rest “have” to follow. Then it’s someone else’s turn. The problem is it is not sustainable and there is no return for the kids. After all, isn’t for the children?

        • Liz says:

          But will someone qualified take the job? That is the question… someone will take it- sure but that individual will more than likely lack the qualifications to do the job well.

          You can throw all your “oh you don’t know the ins and outs” around but I’ll tell you- I have researched this. You suggest Mehlville alone tried to sue the state to change the funding…as you well know- many districts were involved in the lawsuit. Until the state changes the pension system currently in place for education professionals, you aren’t going to change the compensation. You just won’t. You couldn’t pay me enough to put up with the crap superintendents have to deal with. It’s virtually a 24/7 job.

          • Carl Bearden says:

            Someone qualified will take the job. It is a tough job but it isn’t rocket science. There is not a person in any position anywhere, superintendent or otherwise, that cannot be replaced with someone who can do as good of or better job than the one who has the position now.

            Never suggested you don’t know the in’s and out’s. You just have a different view of those in’s and out’s.

            You are correct that other districts sued the taxpayers using taxpayer money to get more taxpayer money. Mehlville has to take ownership of their taxpayer dollars they spent suing those taxpayers for more tax dollars. Have they said they regretted spending money that should have gone to the classroom but went to lawyers in the courtroom instead? I must have missed that!

            We agree on the need for pension reform. I must have also missed Mehlville’s recommendations for meaningful pension reform that they supplied to the state. What are their suggestions?

            The biggest problem with the public education establishment is that they too often ban together to protect the system. They don’t like to be challenged and dismiss anyone who is not an “educator” or in the education establishment as not being qualified to make suggestions or decisions. For too long they have gone unchallenged and we are now reaping the results.

            The attitude of “we are the only ones who understand education so just give us more money and we will let you know when we need you” is being repudiated more and more. When patrons of districts start to really pay attention to what has been going on, they are often amazed and disappointed. The result is a trouncing at the polls.

  6. anonymous says:

    If Mehlville hadn’t asked for so much $$, I would’ve voted for it. However, I am not dumping that much money in one vote. Ask for about a third as much $$ & you got it.

  7. Liz says:

    then the district would be criticized for not doing anything with the money… don’t you think?

    What if the district asked for .30 incrementally… .30 this year, another .30 next year and then in the 3rd year the final .30? Would that be more appealing?

  8. Warren Ward says:

    Why should school systems be immune from the current economic crisis? You want us to pay MORE into the bloated system, when many of us are getting less pay?

    Also, since the school system quit teaching the three Rs and started teaching why Tommy has two daddies and other such garbage, many of us wonder why we still have a failing public school system anyway. That is why we home taught our children.