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Newspaper's support of Mehlville 'a joke'

Letter to the editor

To the editor:

I would like to take the time to thank the editors and owners of the Call Newspapers for so blatantly proving to the public who reads your version of the Enquirer exactly what is important to you.

Most intelligent people know that half the information in said type newspapers is not true, but they read them anyway. So, too, is it for most of the people who read the Call. I guess this is good for your advertisers because "inquiring minds want to know." My only hope is that most intelligent people see right through what you are trying to do.

Your recent lawsuit against the Mehlville School District makes it quite obvious the district's well being is not your concern.

Most school districts in the state of Missouri are experiencing budget cuts because of the decrease in state funding, yet you are pursuing a lawsuit that could cost the district $1,500, plus attorney fees. How many field trips and textbooks would that money purchase? Could not reporting to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education been the first step?

Who is going to pay the district's attorney fees if they win?

The lawsuit article quotes Mr. Milligan as saying: "We're sorry it's come to this because we've had such a good relationship with the Mehlville school board."

Really? I have seen you blast every individual on the school board at one time or another — with the exception of Mr. Huddleston. Hasn't the Call printed sarcastic cartoons about the Mehlville school board during the past couple of years? I really like it when they point out certain physical features of the board members and call this unbiased and professional.

Can the Call honestly say they have a "good relationship" with the school board?

Are we reading the same newspaper? Your candidate for the recent election didn't win and his issues still got more coverage than the actual board decisions. This is unbiased factual reporting?

The fact that you believe you support the Mehlville School District is a joke. You supported Prop P. That is the only time I have ever seen you support the district.

That one thing does not make you a district supporter. Now I wonder if you only did that so you could appoint what you consider overseer. They have a committee for that, you know. You never state just facts. You always offer opinions.

According to the official ballot language put before voters in November 2000 regarding Proposition P, the amount of $68.4 million was not what voters were asked to approve. Voters were asked to approve a 49-cent tax levy per every $100 of assessed valuation for a 20-year period.

That money was to only be used for Proposition P projects outlined on the ballot. The $68.4 million was an estimate of the costs. It was also estimated that the 49 cents would raise about $68.4 million.

True, it has cost much more than $68.4 million for the Prop P projects, but the 49 cents has generated much more than $68.4 million. So, actually the cost estimates and the amount of money that would be raised were both very far off.

To date, all Prop P projects are being done and voters haven't been asked to give the district any additional money. Why does the Call have such a problem with this?

Why not find out who messed up in estimating it would only cost $68.4 million, and who messed up in estimating that the 49 cents would only bring in $68.4 million?

You seem to be so good at financial assessment, how come you didn't see it? Dr. Ricker wasn't working for the district when Prop P was put on the ballot or passed. So why does the Call blame him for what it perceives as Prop P problems? Just curious.

The office for your newspaper sits in the Lindbergh School District. Last week in an editorial you stated how fiscally responsible they are to the public hoping that their wonderful work would cross over to others.

When I do my own comparison let's see, I come up with. Is the tax base — number of individual taxpayers vs. number of business taxpayers — the same? Nope. Per- pupil expenditure the same? Buildings the same? Nope. Teachers' salaries the same?

Nope. Yet we are expected to have the same student outcomes on test scores. Tell me, did you ask Lindbergh's superintendent for their cell phone expenditures last year? I liked the comparison in the letters to the editor last week about your coverage of certain issues and not others.

Bottom line is the Mehlville School District is not perfect. They are honest and hard-working people who try to give the children the best education they can for our dollar. Your constant harassment and insinuation that they are not responsible to the taxpayers is simply put, a lie.

Ora Wood


Editor's note: Mrs. Wood is entitled to her opinions and we're more than happy to publish them for our readers. Though her letter contains several factual errors, we won't bother to correct them all. But we would like to point out that with the exception of a 1992 bond issue, every measure the Mehlville School District has placed before voters during the newspaper's existence has been endorsed by the Call. That's a fact, not an opinion. We encourage readers to drop by our office and review past issues of the Call to confirm this fact and others regarding our coverage of the Mehl-ville School District.

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