Lindbergh board members welcome residents' input
January 05, 2005 - It's clear that Lindbergh Board of Education members and administrators want to hear what district residents have to say about the need for a potential tax-rate increase.
To that end, the Board of Education will sponsor a financial forum at 7 p.m. today — Jan. 6 — in the Anne Morrow Lindbergh Room on the Lindbergh High School campus, 4900 S. Lindbergh Blvd.
Pat Lanane, assistant superintendent for finance and the district's chief financial officer, briefly will present an overview of Lindbergh's financial situation and a report from the Citi-zens' Budget Committee. He then will open the floor for questions and comments from the community.
That's right. Residents actually will be able to address their elected officials face to face in an open forum and express their opinions about the need for a potential tax-rate increase.
What's more, Lindbergh officials genuinely want to hear what residents have to say.
Since announcing the formation of the Citizens' Budget Committee, board members and administrators have been up front that the committee would focus on three possible scenarios to address the district's financial situation — cutting expenses, raising revenues or a combination of both.
After meeting with Mr. Lanane for about one month, reviewing the district's stagnant revenues and growing expenditures, the budget committee recommended the Board of Edu-cation consider a tax-rate increase in April as well as seek "innovative" ways to save cash and generate new revenue.
So now's the time to be heard. Jim Smoot, a local businessman and president of the Green Park Chamber of Commerce, already is gearing up opposition to any tax-rate increase.
Given that a specific proposal has yet to be formulated, we believe such opposition is premature.
But Mr. Smoot — as well any other resident — will be able to directly address Lindbergh school board members and administrators.
That's not the case with all local school boards.
Just try to address members of the Mehlville Board of Education, many of whom cannot hide their disdain for the people they were elected to represent.
But in the area of public comment, as well as so many other areas, Mehl-ville Board of Education members could learn an important lesson from their Lindbergh counterparts.