Mehlville schools enforce contracts, face large class sizes afte -

Mehlville schools enforce contracts, face large class sizes after losing dozens of teachers

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After 20 teachers retired and almost 60 resigned after the 2014-2015 school year, the Mehlville School District is enforcing all of its remaining contracts.

"It's pretty normal at this time of the year to say that, 'we need to keep you here,'" said Kari Estes with the Missouri NEA union. Estes said the practice is common among most districts when school is about to start.

Teachers do have a window where they are allowed to opt-out of their contracts, Estes said, but after the window the contracts must be negotiated.
Estes said the bigger issue the district faces is that of increasing class sizes.

"The inability for a teacher to get all students in their classroom to offer any kind of individual instruction because they are having to maintain classroom management," Estes mentioned. She also said the larger class sizes could force educators to "sort of police the kids rather than teach them."

Mehlville just cut $4 million from the district's budget and is considering additional cuts. The uncertainty is one of the reasons some of the teachers are leaving the district.

"I need the job security and really it's an opportunity for me to have a job that will be secure," said Kim Rucker, who told News 4 earlier in the summer she is leaving the Mehlville District for Rockwood.

Teachers are the best resources the district has, Estes says, and the teachers, community and district must unite to solve the district's budget problems.

"It's not like the teachers are bailing on the students, not by any means, I'm sure many go with great pain or suffering," said Estes, "But they have to make those decisions for themselves and their families."

The district is considering a tax levy proposal for the fall ballot to reduce the potential for cuts in the future.

News 4 contacted the Mehlville School District for a comment on the issue, but no one was available to be interviewed.

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