There is an old saying among educators, "You can't put children first if you put teachers last," but that is exactly what the Mehlville School District is doing.
While building a second rate auditorium at Mehlville, a bunch of tennis courts at Bernard Middle School that will require transportation for high school students, and sitting on taxpayer money with 13+ percent balances - our teachers remain the second lowest paid in St. Louis County.
Auditoriums are nice. So are tennis courts. As a former board member, I wanted both, but not if it meant leaving our teachers behind, and not second rate, misplaced facilities. On the balances, I am on the record against sitting on taxpayer money instead of putting it in the classroom, especially when we could be investing in acquiring and retaining higher quality teachers.
There is a market for good teachers with proven experience, and I'm not talking about 10,000 applicants with no experience who just graduated from University of Phoenix
To be clear, when I write about quality teachers, I am talking about teachers with a proven track record of additive and cumulative benefits to an individual child's education. The teachers I'm talking about often leave Mehlville for as much as $10,000 more a year at neighboring districts, or don't even bother coming here to begin with.
Mehlville is not investing in our children because they are not investing in our teachers. Instead, they are building second rate auditoriums, misplaced tennis courts, and sitting on taxpayer money for artificially inflated balances.
My children will rarely use the auditorium at Mehlville High School, but they will be in the classroom with a teacher almost 100% of the time. It makes you wonder if the administration is putting our children first or are more concerned about their own legacy reputations.
After three decades of mistreating our teachers, it's time for this district and this community to quit leaving our teachers behind.