Franz Responds to Criticism Over Teacher Spending Comments

Board member Rich Franz says he appreciates teachers’ efforts and that his comments were taken partially out of context.

Mehlville School Board member Rich Franz spoke with the Mehlville-Oakville Patch last week explaining the comments he made during the June 21 board meeting which have from both teachers and the community.

“First of all, I want to speak not as a board member but as a citizen,” said Franz after he attended a town hall meeting last Friday. “My comments  at the recent school board meeting were partially taken out of context. They are also not the opinions of the school board.”

In his closing remarks of the June 21 board meeting, Franz said he asked teachers to produce receipts to show how much money they were spending out of pocket for school supplies.

“...this constant harping on this alleged idea that teachers have to take money out of their own pockets just to do their job and teach the basic curriculum I think is a lie that’s perpetrated on the taxpayers and I think it’s time that the taxpayers be treated to the truth and I think it’s time that the teachers either put up or shut up,” .

Franz, however, said he appreciates teachers’ efforts and the money they spend for their classrooms.

“I believe that, based on the media’s reporting, people may be under the impression that I don’t believe teachers should be reimbursed,” Franz said. “That’s not the case. But people are making comments in a public meetings saying that teachers are required to take money out of pocket for necessary supplies. They are saying the school is not providing for its teachers.”

Franz said that teachers are provided with the necessary materials to do their job. He said that if teachers went above and beyond by spending their own money, he appreciated that.

“And the Mehlville School District has an administrative venue for teachers to seek reimbursements for out of pocket expenditures,” Franz said.

Lastly, Franz said, he hopes that if teachers had any issues with him or his comments that they would reach out to him to have a conversation.

“I am more than happy to meet with them at any time and listen to what they have to say,” Franz said. “They are professionals and deserve all my respect.”

*Added July 3: See a video of the meeting; Franz's speech at 16 minutes. 

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Mike Baker July 02, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Rich: What world are you living in? The Patch printed your entire "diatribe" word for word. I don't understand how you can say this was taken out of context. You voted to approve the teachers contract, which gave them their steps / channel changes and you were clearly taking some heat from your constituents, so you had to come up with a plan that put you back in the good graces with your MCTA cronies and grab the headlines. You decide to bash and bully the very people that make this district as successful as it is...the TEACHERS! True, the district gives them the "basic" tools needed to do their job. Often they can't order certain text books due to budgetary restrictions, so they do more with less often supplementing from their own pockets. I have never read a letter or heard from a teacher complaining about not being reimbursed so I would love to know where you get your information, and provide back up to prove it. Mehlville does have an avenue for teachers to be reimbursed at the school level approved by the principal, not bringing it to the board for reimbursement. So next time I suggest that you put your time in and do the research prior to speaking. It is apparent that we will have different views on certain things, but it is time for you to "PUT UP" and start being a productive member of this board doing your homework, coming to meetings prepared and knowing the district policies or just.....well, you know the rest.
Amanda Albright July 02, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Couldn't agree more, Mike. Rich Franz how dare you say this was taken out of context? A word-for-word transcription? Need I remind you also that this was not the only media outlet that included your comments. Did they take it out of context as well? Carlos, I appreciate you taking the time to sit down and speak with this man, however fruitless it turned out to be.
Ruth H. July 02, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Carlos, doesn't the district record these meetings? Do you run a recorder for note taking? Can these be made available here? Mr. Franz protests too much. The Call printed the same quote. Too bad attendance is so low at these meetings. They should be televised for all to see and hear!
Bryan Andrews July 02, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Rich Franz campaign was run on comments by former BOE member Tom Deihl. His group had taken those comments out of context to. Face it folks he is to stupid to be there. He just does Aaron tells him.
Sarah Flagg July 02, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Hi Ruth, The district does record the meetings and have recently started posting them here (bit.ly/Ls9ZUq), but I don't believe the comments are included for this meeting. I do have a recorder and record the meetings, and can see about posting them here, the only problem is that the file size is incredibly large. Thanks so much and let me know if you have any more questions, Sarah
Bob McKitrick July 02, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Yeah, "no sale" here either. How in the world can a transcript of a conversation be taken out of context?
Scott Curtis July 02, 2012 at 04:26 PM
With the amount of taxes we pay in this district, somebody needs to explain to me why,2 packs of highlighters, dry erase markers, and 3 rings of copy paper are on my KINDERGARTENER's supply list. And a notation, "please do not put students' name on the supplies". So teachers cannot afford highlighters and dry erase markers, and neither can the district???? But we have a new auditorium going up?
Carlos Restrepo July 02, 2012 at 06:01 PM
I have about 30 minutes of this meeting recorded on video (before my batteries died). If you would like, I can upload it to YouTube! Let me know!
Carlos Restrepo July 02, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Sorry, I was referring to the town hall meeting.
Liz July 02, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Scott, your taxes for the Mehlville school district are some of the lowest in St. Louis County and compared to other parts of the nation, our school tax is almost nothing! If you are concerns about the supply list, I suggest you contact the principal. Perhaps he or she can explain the items on the list. I do know that little ones don't always do the best job getting those caps back on markers and highlighters. Maybe that's why the 2 packs of highlighters. The skills that are taught in Kindergarten are the basis for future lessons. Highlighting is important in school from K all the way through college. Dry erase markers are a necessary item in most classrooms. Many teachers use mini whiteboards (most purchased them on their own dime!) to help kids get engaged in the lesson without wasting paper. The district supplied dry erase markers smell bad and they dry out quickly. Expo work better and longer and erase more clearly. The 3 reams of copy paper is a mystery to me but I know that some schools ask for it. There's a lot of copying done in elementary school, perhaps it helps ensure that there is an adequate supply. If you are so opposed to it, just don't buy it. It's not required for your kid to go to school. Hope this helps to answer some of your questions. There is usually a reason for every item on the list but if you are unsure- just ask. :)
Scott Curtis July 03, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Liz, I think you missed my point. My point is, there is a faction on both sides. One side says we pay a lot of tax, the other faction will always side with teachers. I don't agree with either side. I get that some teachers will spend out of their own pocket, but there is also a process for reimbursement. This school district cannot cry poor on cirriculum when several new buildings are going up or have been built in the last 10 years. Likewise, teachers cannot cry poor when they choose to spend their own money or do not use the reimbursement process. Bottom line, being that the tax rate is so low, are you saying "you get what you pay for? Sounds like it to me, the next proposition should include cirruculum and supply mandates not new buildings and swimming pools. And you still, Liz, did not address why a supply list for child's classroom experience includes a request to not put their name on the supplies? Why is that???
Ruth H. July 03, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Franz contends his comments were taken out of context? Not from what I have seen of the video on schooltube.com. That is what he said verbatim. I like that the school district is providing this.
Liz July 03, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Scott, I answered your follow up question twice but for some reason it isn't posting on the Patch. Suffice it to say it's about increasing instructional time. The less time Suzy spends looking for HER red marker, the more time the kids and the teacher can get to work. For little ones it seems to work better to have community supplies. Hope this helps.


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