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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Message From MCTA Co-Founder Ken Meyer

Do you remember this famous quotation when you were in typing class for speed purposes……”Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country”….It was 1867 and by Charles E Weller, a teacher no less in the middle of a Civil War.

These words have real meaning today, especially anyone who has either lost their job, took a pay cut, or
lay off, or lost their home etc….you get the picture.   And now is the time….. Tuesday September 27th, at 6:45pm at Mehlville High School, for The Board of Education is allowing a “Tax Rate Hearing for 15 Minutes for 2011”, follow by the Mehlville School Board of Directors Meeting at 7:00pm. 
If I maybe so bold as to ask and encourage all our former Mehlville School Board Directors to be there in numbers and make public comments, and not increase our “TAX RATES” any further.  This is not Washington and our Mehlville School Administration AND Board of Directors, have to learn to live within their means….You would think they got the message after the November 2010 defeat of PROP C and the election of April 2011 they would be aware of how “TAXPAYERS” feel about spending the Taxpayers money.
The Mehlville Taxpayer Association (MCTA) needs your help!  This is not Washington and we cannot print more money.  As you all know this current Board voted (5 to 2) too increase pay for ALL non-certified employees by 1% and retirement benefits at the last board meeting and that’s after they cut 4.5 million previously from the budget.  Additionally this Administration, Dr Knost (CEO) and Mr. Knobloch (CFO) did not tell the (4) new board members that the (Pay Raise) was already included the budget that was approved earlier in the year…….Taxed Enough Already (TEA PARTY). 

Please consider being at Mehlville High School on Tuesday September 27th at 6:45pm remember we only have 15-minutes……Thanks


  1. A messege from KING Meyer really why don't you just tell the truth. You hate public education and would much rather have charter schools and no unions.

  2. Not everyone wants to send their children to Catholic schools, especially if they are NOT Catholic. Not everyone wants to (or is able to) home school. Remaining viable choice is public education. Why do you seek to destroy this? You are alienating parents and children. We don't mind paying for quality education. If you chose not to, then move to a crappy district, with crappy home values and crappy neighbors and let the rest of us be! You are dragging us down! PLEASE STOP!

  3. Public schools are better at paying fat salaries, health benefits and unbelievable pensions than they are at providing a quality education for our kids.

    The Mehlville district's academics have flatlined for years no matter how much money they have extracted from the public. The education funding provided by public funds should follow the student to WHATEVER SCHOOL the family chooses for their kids. This works great in European countries where public schools MUST compete for students.

    Why is it that ONLY public school teachers can join the PSRS and private teachers cannot? Shouldn't ALL teachers in ALL schools get the same deal? Oh I forgot! Only UNION teachers are eligible. Stupid me.

  4. Jackson if you don't like it here get your fat ass to Europe. By the way your public school teachers are much better then your private school teachers. Remember when you pay the teachers a good salary you will get the best. Union teachers are the only way to go. If you need someone to pack your bags I can help.

  5. Just some history and an FYI regarding the "now is the time for all good men" statement. Charles Edward Weller actually ran a Wisconsin Union Telegraph Office in the 1860's. He wrote a book on the history of the typewriter that you can view at this link:

    In the book he records his relationship with the inventor of the typewriter, Latham Sholes. On page 21 of the above link he described Sholes demonstrating his typewriter with the "now is the time" phrase. However, it was originally, "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party." This became a typing exercise and party was changed to country supposedly because it then fit precisely on a 70 space typing line. Pretty interesting stuff.

    Ken, with all due respect, I'm struggling to understand your allegation about me not telling the board of a raise in the budget. While I'm not clear on the allegation, I can assure you practicing in a dishonest manner with my board is something that will never happen. I welcome thoughts from critics and I'm a good listener; I think you know this about me. Please reconsider blogging unfounded personal attacks especially when you haven't asked me the question.

    Just one other point regarding the tax rate hearing. I'm absolutely fine with opinions and comments relating to your local taxes but here are a few additional points to consider. The Mehlville School District has always followed the Hancock Amendment and when property assessments have gone up, the District has appropriately rolled back the tax rates to offset the increases to taxpayers. But the Hancock Amendment is a two way street, allowing the opposite to happen when property assessments go down. This allows districts to stay revenue neutral and not lose potentially millions of dollars because assessments went down. Again, just food for thought.

    I also wanted to say that I do appreciate you putting your name on your letter. I welcome constructive criticism but it’s very difficult to converse with people who hide behind their anonymity.

    Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, I would love the opportunity to converse with you in person regarding your "flat lined district academics" statement and hear further about the data you are analyzing. Feel free to contact me in my office at any time.

    Sincerely, Eric D. Knost

  6. All above, I do not know where retnva2001 got their information but they should discuss facts, not lead off with personal attacks. If you can not debate the issues without personal attacks then we will consider the source.

    Anonymous. why do you single out the catholic schools, are there not Lutheran schools, military schools or just plain private schools? Hmm?

    What is it that you feel is being destroyed? I don't see teachers leaving by the bushel. I don't see attendance plummeting. I don't see ACT scores dropping. Please explain how Parents and children are being alienated. Alienated from what? Couldn't tell at Board meeting attendance.

    All schools private or public have bad and good teachers. That is just something that each district or private school has to deal with. Although I doubt if the private school had a bad teacher they would not be rewarded with a contract for the next year unlike a public tenure teacher.

    Jacksons, Europe has enough problems so we won't even go there. Besides the voucher system will not work. It just another government intervention into education which has no business to be in in the first place. Anonymous, why do you make it personal. MSD does a good job employing good teachers. If they didn't then why is the MSD yrs of experince only a half year behind Lindbergh or Pattonville and tied with Rockwood? Why is MSD attendance rating higher than Kirkwood or Webster? There are two things that MSD needs to improve and that is a higher percentage of students taking the ACT test and increasing the average composite score of the ACT test taken.

    Dr. Knost we understand about the roll up or roll back of taxes depending on assessments. And it is the MSD right to determine what needs to be done with the tax rate based on state law. I assume at the meeting there will be discussion on how much and what that roll up money, if any, will be used for? Is it for capital improvements, operating expsenditures for transportation or salaries?

    But we are in difficult times and all people, with a few exceptions, have had to tighten, put off, eliminate and rebudget their lives for the last several years and will continue for another year or two.

    It is not that taxpayers are against education of the children, but everything ends at the taxpayer. Taxes, utilities, cost of fuel, cost of food and so on just keep going up. But where does this person,taxpayer, in private sector labor force go for his/her increase to cover these things. He/she goes to Mr. employer and 9 out of 10 times the door is open.

    Where does the retired person go when the government cuts his/her health insurance. Or gets no COL increase in the social security check. And there are alot of people in the MSD that fall in the retired catagory. Times are going to get a lot tougher before they get better. So the belt tightening needs to continue except for capital maintenance and upgrading text books or technology type educational items, not pay increases.

    So, consider the taxpayer when discussing the tax issue. And I would like to know what detailed plan there is by MSD to increase the number of students taking the ACT and in increasing the average composite test score. Because, and Dr. Knost correct me if i am wrong, most colleges today use the ACT as a very important admission requirement do they not?

    Greg Frigerio MCTA

  7. Greg,

    You've touched on a lot of areas and I want to remind you that I'm always available for a conversation. I appreciate the fact that you have actually been in my office for discussions and you show a real willingness to collaborate. I am grateful for your approach.

    Just a few remarks regarding your comments above: I disagree with your analysis of a bad tenured teacher. I'm curious if you are aware of specific examples of this happening. Critics of public schools like to suggest tenure laws protect bad teachers but I can assure I've never had this problem. I can also tell you I'm aware of instances where educators were released from the public sector and later hired in the private sector. Also, private schools are not required by the government to follow the same teacher certification rules nor are they held accountable for the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act.

    Regarding the tax rate and a possible roll-up, this will be appropriately discussed by the board at the hearing and ultimately left to the board to decide. Regardless, rolling up would not be viewed as additional money. Rolling up would allow the district to stay revenue neutral.

    I agree with your interest in taking care of our facilities and capital needs but I would also argue the absolute most important thing we can do for all children is to put them in contact with highly qualified adults who care.

    Yes, ACT scores are important and utilized heavily by Missouri universities as entrance exams. However, the SAT is utilized by many out of state universities and the PSAT is the qualifier for the National Merit Scholar program. We have a large population of students who attend the local community college and they utilize their own entrance exam, making it unnecessary for them to complete the ACT. We are still interested in ramping up the numbers of students taking all college entrance exams. Regardless of all these tests, the most important assessments are those that allow the educators to benchmark individual students' progress in efforts to inform classroom instruction. You will never see such assessments reported on or covered in news venues.

    Thanks for the opportunity to address your questions and please know I'm always a phone call away.

    Eric D. Knost

  8. Well said Dr. Knost. Its individuals like yourself that makes the schools a great place of learning for our children. I have the highest respest for our teachers both in the public and private schools.

  9. Dr. Knost,
    Thank you for your comments. A lively debate is always welcome.
    I'll take a broad swipe with brush and ask why there is tenure in the first place. As far as NCLB, that is another example of why the government should not be in the education business. Best thing that can happen is for that horrible piece of legislation to be repealed.
    Regarding the SAT and ACT. Do not more univerisities use the ACT not the SAT as an entrance quailification with the exception of Ivy league, California schools and a few others, i.e. Notre Dame? Also why is the ACT composite score published in the schools report card? You mention assessments that allow educators to benchmark individual students' progress... would this be the same thing as test scores on subject matter?
    I guess the capital improvements plan will always be just that, a plan as we continue to take care of the highly quailied adults.

    Greg Frigerio

  10. Dr Knost…..

    Thank you for your reply and comments. I do agree if you’re going to write on any subject at least sign your name! Dr Knost with all due respect, I would like to differ with you on the source of: “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country”. As I typed it many, many, many, times in Mrs. Morgan’s Typing Class, matter-of-fact one of my class mate was so fast that she set her Typewriter on fire. True story. Anyway according to The Straight Dope

    Additionally you can find a similar answer on Yahoo

    I did check your information and if I read it correctly it appears Mr. Weller moved from Milwaukee to St Louis, Missouri and was employed by Walbridge & Allen “A Shorthand Firm” who where the only verbatim reporters in St Louis. He also got the First Typewriter manufacturer by Mr. Sholes. I guess we’ll have to wait until we all get to Heaven, we can look him up and find out his Profession.

    Again Dr. Knost, with all due respect, I’m pretty familiar with the Hancock Amendment and property reassessments. I’m also very aware of the huge number of people who showed up on Watson Road, to appeal their reassessments this past summer. I’m sorry if you’re taking my comments as personal attacks, that is not my intention. My intention is very simple. We taxpayers expect full disclosure of district operations in order to analyze Mehlville's performance so citizens can make wise voter decisions when electing our representatives to the Mehlville Board of Education. I believe the district voters spoke loud and clear last November 2010 and again in April 20ll, regarding the spending habits of the Mehlville School District.

    Dr. Knost, if my memory serves me correctly I don’t recall any kind of conversations (Public Board of Education Meetings) regarding PAY RAISES coming from you or Mr. Knobloch for teachers or non-certified employees during the 2011/2012 budget approval process. Whether this was intentionally or otherwise? Second, when your administration was looking for $4.5 Millions in items to be removed from the budget, why would you not exclude the salary increases? Third, you had an opportunity to correct the situation at the last Board of Education Meeting (August 18th) when Mr. Knobloch spoke and indicated it was already figured in the budget, which was previously approved earlier in the year.

    Finally Dr Knost, in the “Mehlville School District Educational Plan and Budget for 2011-2012”, dated June 28, 2011 and presented by Mr. Knobloch and you on page 4, under expenditures, the last sentence states: “Salary steps for both certified and classified personnel were frozen for the current year.” What are we taxpayers to believe? The taxpayers can’t even trust your own documents from your website. The fact still remains the same (4) new Directors (BOE) did not know a PAY INCREASE was included in district's budget when it was presented on June 28th, and approved.

    You will recall Dr Knost, I’m a very simple man. I understand when you don’t have the money you don’t do certain things, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know when you have a BUDGET SHORT-FALL of $4.5 Million Dollars, you don’t give pay raises to anyone. I pleaded with the Board of Education and your administration, during the public Comments time to not approve the 1% pay increase, not because they didn’t earn it, but because the Mehlville School District could not afford it at this time.

    Dr. Knost, when Mr. Knobloch makes the comment, that if the Board of Education wanted to rescind the pay increase next year, they could do so…..that did it! What happens to employee morale next year if they take it away?


    Kenneth R Meyer

  11. Greg,

    I would welcome more discussion in person as this blog has obviously scrolled out of view. Regarding tenure, I would suggest it exists to provide some stability for good teachers looking for an honest and respectable career. However, it does not protect teachers who break the law, break policy or are just simply bad. I've never had an issue removing an undeserving educator.


    Did you bother to ask Noel for clarification on his comment about the budget? I can absolutely promise you we prepared a budget with zero intent of any raises. School budgets are always based on forecasting and we had no control over a recalculation of funding from a previous year by the state. This obviously provided more flexibility in the budget. Noel was simply stating the 1% hourly classified raise would not cause us to deficit spend.

    I'm not sure why you differ with the source regarding the "Now is the time" statement. The link I provided was a book written by Weller himself where he describes his connection to the statement. He may have later became a teacher, I don't know, but he surely doesn't mention this in relation to this phrase. By the way, I also practiced typing with that phrase when I was in school. We also typed, "the quick red fox jumps over the lazy brown dog." However, I don't know the origin of that statement.

    Regarding your suggested concern over employee morale in the Mehlville School District, or any public school, I find it slightly disingenuous.

    Please know I'm always available for a discussion.


    Eric D. Knost


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