Fred Padberg is running for the Mehlville School District Board of Education so he can support a sales tax funding system for public schools and keep an eye on the money being spent for the district if elected.
“What I am is a property owner who is sick and tired of paying property taxes and supporting a school system that A, I’ve never participated in and B, none of my children ever did and C, I think it’d be much more equitable and make a lot more sense to relieve people of this burden of property taxes and put it into a sales tax,” he said in an interview with Patch.
The candidate wants Mehlville Superintendent Eric Knost to ask state legislators to consider funding public education through a sales tax. This would solve financial problems in the district, he said.
“That way, everybody carries the burden rather than just these people who are property owners,” Padberg added.
On April 3, voters will chose to serve on the Mehlville school board for a three-year term.
Padberg also applied for the , when the board for the position.
The 70-year-old Army veteran grew up in south St. Louis and went to St. Mary’s High School. After returning from service in South Korea in 1963, Padberg went to night school at Washington University and earned a degree in architectural engineering.
In 1971, he started his own marketing and advertising firm, . The company also creates promotional materials and training programs.
Semi-retired, Padberg still works in consulting, but also owns, rents and maintains several properties.
Living in the district for more than 20 years, being a taxpayer and raising four children makes him fit to serve on the board, Padberg said. His children, who are still in the St. Louis area, range from age 37 to 45 and attended Cor Jesu, Saint Louis University High, Nerinx and CBC.
Padberg calls himself a newcomer to the governance of public education.
“I’m a new guy, I want to respect those people and listen and learn,” he said, but added that he had budgetary concerns.
“If we as the taxpayer don’t keep an eye on how these guys spend money, there’s going to be no limit. And if you don’t believe that, all you have to do is look at Congress.”
With long-term funding in mind, Padberg said the board should proceed with caution on .
“They may have the money today, but there’s a real possibility they’re not going to have it tomorrow,” he said. “If the money’s not there next year, then what do you do? Say, ‘Well, keep your kids at home?’”
Padberg previously served as President of the Home and School Organization for Our Lady of Sorrows in south St. Louis. There, he organized open forum meetings between teachers and parents.
While he said serving on that board made him appreciate teachers, Padberg did not respond to the .
“I’m a conservative; they don’t want to talk to me,” he said. “I don’t think, from their point of view, that I’d have much to contribute in a positive vein. I’m not anti-union, I just don’t want anybody—I don’t care who they are—breaking the bank.”
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