Frank, Leach best candidates for Mehlville school board
March 30, 2005 - Four candidates are seeking election to three seats on the Mehlville Board of Ed-ucation in next week's election.
We can, however, endorse only two candidates — Karl Frank Jr. and Ken Leach.
We believe they are the candidates who acknowledge the problems the Mehlville School District is facing and are offering solutions for the good of the district and its students.
We can't say the same about Cindy Christopher, who has served as Board of Education president for the last two years and is seeking a third three-year term, nor Marea Kluth-Hoppe, board secretary who is seeking re-election to a second three-year term.
It's simple: A problem can't be solved unless you acknowledge its existence.
That's why it was downright pathetic during a candidate forum earlier this month when Mrs. Christopher and Mrs. Kluth-Hoppe steadfastly insisted the Mehlville School District does not have a poor image with the public. If that's the case, why is the Mehlville School District operated almost like a police state in which this newspaper is unable to speak directly to Mehlville employees for news stories?
Such a disconcerting practice likely violates employees' First Amendment right of freedom of speech, yet Mrs. Christopher and Mrs. Kluth-Hoppe insist they believe in the First Amendment.
In response to this newspaper's candidate questionnaire, they gave these written "re-sponses'' when asked: Do you believe in the First Amendment? If the superintendent or his designee prohibited district em-ployees or contractors from speaking with a specific media outlet, would you support such an action? Why or why not?
Mrs. Christopher said, "All citizens are granted First Amendment rights under the Constitution of the United States.''
Mrs. Kluth-Hoppe said, "I believe that the First Amendment protects the rights of all people.''
Their answers aren't very responsive and are a perfect example why we won't submit written questions to board members, administrators and other employees of the district.
Given the skyrocketing cost of the Proposition P districtwide building improve-ment program and the dramatic decline in academic performance as evidenced by the 27-point drop on the district's Annual Performance Report, it's clear why Mrs. Christopher and Mrs. Kluth-Hoppe would like to control what we print and would welcome the gag order that's been placed on employees and those who do business with the district.