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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