The new Mehlville school board is officially in place as Board Secretary Elaine Powers administered the oath of office Wednesday to and , who to serve on the board April 3.
Fedorchak has served for the last nine months after . He is the father of three girls and resides in Oakville.
Eardley, who also lives in Oakville, has three young children, one of which attends . She is a stay-at-home mom with a masters in business and will be earning a masters in education in May.
The board voted unanimously to accept the from St. Louis County, which said Eardley earned 3,260 votes and Fedorchak 2,849 votes.
Fedorchak thanked everyone who voted, but said one of the top priorities for his three-year term is to increase voter turnout. Less than 13 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the April election.
“We’re not hearing the whole community and that’s one thing I want to try and change in the next three years, is we have to do a better job of educating the community,” he said. “We should be teaching our kids that this is their most important civic duty that they’ll ever have is to go out and vote.”
Eardley also thanked the voters and everyone who worked and contributed to her campaign.
“I would also like to assure you that I will work hard to justify your support on the school board,” she said.
Leaving the board is Tom Diehl, who has served for the last six years, four as board president.
“Tom (Diehl) and I never agree on anything, we generally don’t, and in fact, Tom knows I didn’t like him very much when I started and he didn’t like me very much, but I do want to comment that I think we’ve developed a really nice mutual respect," board member Rich Franz said. "I want to compliment Tom for being a man of character who stands by his ideals, he always fought for what he believed in on the board.”
Diehl said his one of his greatest accomplishments while serving was restoring the district's reserves without severely cutting staff or programs.
“We reduced our administrative staff by 16 percent; we offered early retirement incentives… we refinanced or canceled debt at every opportunity, saving the taxpayers several million dollars and positioning the district to construct without a tax increase,” he said.
Diehl received a standing ovation during the meeting as he thanked teachers and students of the district.
He said the mission of a school board is to make sure students receive the best possible education and that everyone should support the Mehlville School District when asked.
“Many changes have occurred over the last six years including the district’s CEO,” Superintendent Eric Knost said about Diehl's departure. “Tom has effectively worked with four superintendents throughout his time on the board. He has seen the district through many ups and downs, but through it all, Tom’s commitment to children has remained constant.”