A discussion about the Mehlville school board’s development and evaluation led to a debate about an organization’s role with the board.
The Missouri School Boards' Association (MSBA) is an organization that represents school boards across the state in legislative and administrative efforts.
“Not all of us on this board support the mission of the MSBA,” board member Rich Franz said. “In fact, some of us, considerably myself, see the MSBA as a political organization with the separate agenda from what’s of the best interest of the school district.”
The discussion began after Larry Felton presented the board with a self-assessment tool at Saturday’s school board retreat. Each board member will complete an evaluation form and then the board could analyze the results themselves, or pay the MSBA $75 to develop the results.
Felton said the assessment would show the strengths and weaknesses of the board as well as topics of agreement and disagreement.
Franz said he wouldn’t support paying for an evaluation and was opposed to the MSBA establishing the criteria, functionality and results of the assessment.
“I believe their interest is projecting an agenda that is specifically beneficial to an educational bureaucracy that exists in the state and they do not… have the best interest of the taxpayers in mind,” he said.
Elaine Powers asked Franz to find a different way to evaluate the board or receive professional development if not through the MSBA.
“You’ve got to constantly be improving yourself,” board member Ron Fedorchak said. “You did it in other jobs, you should do it here. That serves the taxpayers because now you can effectively govern your superintendent to make sure he’s doing his job right.”
Franz said his development would come from speaking to taxpayers and understanding their needs.
Superintendent Eric Knost said his department would look into trainings that weren’t organized by the MSBA along with MSBA training.
The board also adjusted the goals they developed in January.
The goal of fiscal responsibility is now the second goal at the suggestion of Powers.
On a goal relating to governance, the board deleted the first sentence, which said, “The Mehlville School District Board meetings should be professional, productive and concise.”
The rest of that goal is now last on the list.
“I’m quite pleased with how this board has evolved,” Superintendent Eric Knost said at the retreat. “I’ll admit very candidly a year ago we were all over the map, but it’s evolved nicely.”
The Mehlville School District will, at all times, strive for academic excellence. All educators, curriculum, funding, policy and procedure should be examined with the direct benefit of the student; in particular, emphasis on core skills.
The Mehlville Board of Education ensures continuing fiscal responsibility and transparency in the management of public financial resources by continuing to provide and excellent return on investment.
The Mehlville Board of Education will maintain and provide adequate facilities to support our curriculum and provide a safe and healthy environment for students and staff.
Technology will be part of the educational strategy to accommodate flexibility of instructional times, curriculum content, learning styles, CSIP and the goal of academic excellence with an effort to remain revenue neutral and to support the goal of long-term cost reduction.
The Mehlville Board of Education will recruit, attract, provide professional development and retain highly-qualified staff to carry out the Mehlville School District’s mission, goals and objectives to improve academic excellence.
The Mehlville Board of Education and administration will be vigilant and will foster a sense of community and proactively seek family and community involvement in the education of all students.
The Mehlville Board of Education will govern the Mehlville School District in an efficient and effective manner providing leadership and representation to benefit the students, staff and patrons of the District and serve as an advocate for public education at the local, state and national level.