Another Prop C – Only This Time, It Should Be NO!

Imagine your response to this scenario.  An elected school board member is asked about an action he and his fellow board members took. He responded:  “”My decision and the decision of the board is not based on how the taxpayers feel.

Unfortunately, this is not a “what if” scenario.  This is the actual response from the Mehlville Public School District School Board President Tom Diehl.

Now let’s be clear.  School Board members serve at no pay.  They are elected volunteers who are supposed to serve the patrons of the district in providing the best education possible.  Most do the best job they can.  Unfortunately, some forget who they actually serve and either believe that they work for the administration or, worse yet, that they are above questioning by those who put them in place.

Mr. Diehl and others on the Mehlville School Board appear to have reached the latter point of view.

Take, for example, the recent vote to place a 25% tax levy increase on the November ballot.  I’m not sure, but perhaps they have missed the fact that the country is in an economic recession. But like most school districts and boards, they use the tired and worn refrain “it’s for the children” to justify their actions.  It has been my experience that as soon as that phrase is deployed, it is usually the last resort for those lacking a winning argument for what they want to do.

The Mehlville School Board doesn’t have a stellar track record in making good decisions.  One doesn’t have to look far to see this fact demonstrated.

Take the salary offer they made to their superintendent this year.  They offered him a whopping $44,088 increase (roughly 24%) plus a $25,000 bonus to stay on as superintendent, according to the Post-Dispatch. Teachers were being given approximately a 3% increase.

A little problem developed.  The district wanted to put a tax increase on the ballot to raise approximately $106 million.  It seems that when focus groups were asked about the superintendent salary increase, they were very much inclined NOT to vote for the tax levy.

As a result, the superintendent decided he really didn’t need all that money and settled for a measly 6% increase in salary.  After all, the other 18% that he would have received “was for the children.”

Apparently the superintendent and the board, which rescinded the offer after the superintendent decided he didn’t need it after all, think that by declining and rescinding the outrageous salary increase that all is forgiven.  District residents should remember that the offer was made, it was considered and that only after the focus groups indicated that the salary increase could cause problems for the tax levy increase was it “declined” and “rescinded”.

Fortunately, a grass roots group has sprung up to fight this ill-timed and ill-considered tax levy increase.  According to the Call and its website, the Mehlville Community  Taxpayers Association (MCTA) was formed to

oppose the Mehlville School District’s Proposition C, citing what it contends is the Board of Education’s lack of credibility and the community’s inability to afford the proposed 88-cent tax-rate increase.

Now, it’s not uncommon for there to be opposition to tax levy increases.  Groups often spring up in opposition to such proposals.  But in this case and under these economic conditions, a 25% tax levy increase is rather outrageous.  I guess that’s why the Call reports that the opposition includes,

“four former Mehlville Board of Education members — Kurt Witzel, Dick Roehl, Matt Chellis and state Rep. Walt Bivins — have voiced their opposition to Prop C. Also opposed is Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors Chairman Aaron Hilmer, who helped lead an effort to defeat the school district’s Proposition A — a 97-cent tax-rate increase — in February 2006.”

(You can hear Aaron Hilmer’s discussion with a supporter of the tax levy on the Mark Reardon show on KMOX here.)

It’s apparent that the opposition is more than just a few people who are against yet another tax increase.  It’s opposed by some very knowledge people who make some very good points about why now is not the time for a 25% increase in the tax levy during these economic times.

If you want to learn more about this issue, the MCTA is having a meeting today (October 14).  Here is the info:

Attend the MCTA Kick-off Rally on Thursday Night!

Do you oppose more wasteful spending and huge salary and benefit increases for Mehlville employees? Then attend the Mehlville Community Taxpayer’s Association’s kick-off rally at 7 PM on Thursday, October 14 at the South County Holiday Inn.

Tell your friends and neighbors to join us in opposition to the massive tax increase proposed by the big spenders at the Mehlville School District.

WHO: The Mehlville Community Taxpayer’s Association

WHAT: MCTA Kick-Off Rally

WHEN: Thursday, October 14 at 7 PM

WHERE: South County Holiday Inn

6921 South Lindbergh Blvd

St. Louis, MO 63125

(314) 892-3600

Carl Bearden
View all posts by Carl Bearden
Carl's website

12 Responses to “Another Prop C – Only This Time, It Should Be NO!”

  1. […] levy increase that the Mehlville Public School District has placed on the ballot for November 2 (Another Prop C – Only This Time, It Should Be NO!).  Five former school board members, several of them past board presidents, have announced their […]

  2. […] levy increase that the Mehlville Public School District has placed on the ballot for November 2 (Another Prop C – Only This Time, It Should Be NO!).  Five former school board members, several of them past board presidents, have announced their […]

  3. Anonymous says:

    WHAT A JOKE PEOPLE….YOU SHOULD ALL BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES FOR BEING SO SELFISH AND SO DISCONNECTED FROM REALITY…SERIOUSLY PEOPLE $1 A DAY…IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD THAT THEN MOVE OUT OF MEHLVILLE INTO AN AREA THAT YOU CAN AFFORD! FIXED INCOMES…ARE YOU KIDDING ME…IT IS A MEASLEY $1 A DAY…I CAN SAVE THAT BY SHUTTING OFF A LIGHT A DAY OR TURNING MY THERMOSTAT UP OR DOWN BY 1 DEGREE..ALL THOSE OPPOSED NEED A SERIOUS REALITY CHECK AND GOD HELP ALL OF YOU WHO ARE SO BLIND…IF PROP C DOES NOT PASS I CANNOT WAIT TO WATCH YOUR HOUSE VALUES PLUNGE…I GUARANTEE THE $1 A DAY WILL LOOK A HECK OF A LOT BETTER……

    • Carl Bearden says:

      Jokes on you!

      If you want to, nothing is stopping you or others from making donations to the school district!

      Stop the caterwauling and misleading “your house values are gonna fall” argument. Makes you look desperate and out of touch. Not to mention out of it!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Misleading…why don’t we talk about your so called 25% increase if you want to talk about misleading….as I stated earlier…If you do not like the district or cannot afford to sacrifice a dollar a day…then relocate to somewhere more within your means and do all of the residents who support our kids and district a HUGE favor! Carl I am more in touch with reality than you ever will be and have made more of an impact on my childrens lives and school than you ever will so don’t even go there with telling me I am desperate and out of Touch…Obviously United for Missouri is the group desperate and out of touch… Oh and by the way..hanging your hat on the Board Presidents statement and the salary increase for our Superintendent are really getting stale! Pretty sad if those are what you guys are hanging your hats on!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Also Carl…seriously where does Rich Franz get off by saying a tax increase would be a disaster… lack of credibility…that regime is long gone…you can blame the infamous TIM RICKER for that one…Out of Touch???lets see we have spents hundres of hours working with our board members on the Compass program…They encourages ALL community members to come and even held sessions on Saturdays to look out for those who could not attend during the week….TURF FIELD…really we are going to hold putting in a turf field as an issue…no more re sodding, grass cutting, watering and rainouts…hmm sounds like long term that is a solid investment…DECREASE IN ENROLLMENT…well lets see….I am not a rocket scientist but that is a number of things demographics as well as many choosing to send their kids private because of the stability of our district due to the fact we have not had a tax increase since the Reagan Administration….Ken Meyer…seriously if your being filmed you should really do better than hanging your hat on just the installation of Turf…and really your concerned about fellow retirees…maybe you should worry about the children of all of our futures…Greg Figerio….I appreciate your concern about the economy but seriously…redirect some of your concern to our schools….just for kicks…drive by all of the resteraunts, malls, movie theaters, etc. this weekend and then come back and tell me that this whopping dollar a day increase will devastate our community….I do a lot around town and if times are so bad….you would think all of those lots would be empty…NOT SO MUCH….Guys I respect your decisions and opinions but Carl I really think you should worry about St. Charles issues and let us South County folks worry about our own community…..GO PROP C…..

    • Carl Bearden says:

      I’m helping folks all around the state address poor decisions by elected officials like Prop C.

      I’m also not hiding behind an “anonymous author” name. What I say is public, and open for discussion.

      Too bad you don’t have the courage or convictions to do the same.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow another great comeback Carl….Typical Politician that dances around the real topic. You cannot even comment on what your poster boys on the website spoke about because they are ridiculous. I do not need to post my name because I am not an attention craving former politician who has to have his name out there to feel important…believe me it has nothing to do with courage or convictions..I am not doing this to feed my ego…I am doing it because I believe strongly in our district and am doing what is right and that is Voting YES ON PROP C….

        • Carl Bearden says:

          Actually not commenting because it would cause further embarrassment to you as an anonymous poster.

          I know the “allegations” you have made in regards to me contain statements that are clearly made from ignorance. Fortunately for the taxpayers of Mehlville, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out you are striking out in desperation in an attempt to attack those who dare stand in the way of the school bureaucrats using children as pawns for more power and money.

          To hear you talk, there will only be 3-4 votes against Prop C. If you are right, I’ll say so.

          Beyond that, you deserve no response to any of the distortions you have posted since you choose to hide behind anonymity. A one time anonymous post is understandable. Recurring anonymous posts is cowardice and even if you now revealed yourself, who would believe you? We will find out tonight!

          • Jim says:

            Carl,
            Mabybe you should put things in a better format that is really informational rather than slanted just towards your point of view. The tax increase is not 25%, but closer to 10% of property taxes. It is a 25% increase to the schools of the district which still puts them below the top half of the districts in the metro area, a jump from second to last out of 22. You can point all you like to words mispoken and rant and rave all you want about the district being out of touch, but the value the district gets out of their tax dollars is unsurpassed by its peer districts. The test scores far exceed their spending level at this time. The Mehlville school district needs to improve infrastructure and provide technology tools which neighboring districts are offering. The district also needs to be able to retain its talented teachers that they trained instead of having neighboring districts with over twice the contribution per 1000 of assessed values stealing their teachers away because they cant afford to retain them. The same people who have complained about having to pay more in taxes complained when the district cut services a few years ago. The district will overcome in spite of individuals like yourself who find a few problems and paint the whole system as bad, instead of looking to see the positives and fulfill the needs of others.

          • Carl Bearden says:

            It was as you say a 25% increase in the school levy. The report was accurate and no need for change.

            You might want to read all the blog postings and the responses to them. I have put up every input reflecting the “other view” that was submitted. I do that for all blog posts. The only time I will not approve a posting is for cursing or personal attacks on others beyond the pale. Some could argue that a few responses from anonymous posters bordered on the latter.

            Prop C simply didn’t offer anything the people who pay the taxes wanted to purchase. The district might want to broaden out its next effort to include people who will tell them what the community is actually feeling rather than getting the answer they want to hear.

  6. david says:

    sounds to me like maybe jim should move to another area if he likes their school districts so much better instead of telling us to move. i have 70 and 80 year old people living near me that are on a very limited income; who would have had to turn their heat down low last winter if neighbors hadn’t helped them. so don’t tell me it is only a dollar a day, tell the people on very limited fixed income. tell the people who can not afford it, or afford to move. you sir are out of touch with reality. well, i hope you find a nice area to live and a school district you like. see ya jim have a good life.

    • Jim says:

      David,
      I would hope if you are reading this site that you could maybe have a little better grasp of what I wrote. I didn’t say anything about the price of the bill or about the school districts in the area being better. I didn’t ask you or anyone else to leave. It seems you are bitter about something I didn’t even address. My only point in blogging is to sustain and improve the quality of education in the Mehlville school district. I would hope that anyone that is blogging about this is concerned about the community in which they live and their goal is to make it a better place. I am sorry that your neighbors are having a tough time, i sympathize with them. It is great that their neighbors are administering to the needs of others. I don’t ask or expect them to move out of the district and I don’t want to evict them from their homes. Saying that I am out of touch with reality is a stretch. Maybe you should educate yourself better about what are blogging about and not curtly advise someone to move away that you don’t agree with. I didn’t come to this site to do anything but give people more information than a NO 25% TAX sign. I will do what I can to make my community a better place and hopefully have more people that have a grip on reality.