Letter to the Editor from Shelby County R-lV Special Education Para-Professional and Shelbina Resident, Charlene Brengle

August 03, 2018

Dear Editor,

For those who do not know me, I am Charlene Brengle. I graduated from South Shelby in 2008, and my husband, Jason Brengle, graduated in 2005. We were born and raised in Shelby County. We now have three boys, Blake a 4th grader and Braylen a 1st grader at Shelbina Elementary, and Knox who is soon to be 3. I love my school, my town and my county. I would like to express appreciation to our school board members and administrative staff that has went above and beyond to have the best interest of all the students in our district. I can imagine that serving on a board is not an easy job and this consolidation/redistricting has made it even more difficult.

As I write this letter, I am heartbroken, frustrated, and confused. I have seen the struggles of kids who already have so many things to worry about, now worried about being forced to switch schools. Many have expressed sorrow as they have been told that they will not only be forced to move away from their friends, teachers, and school but they will move from their homes if the redistricting is passed.

I am appalled that an incident that may or may not have happened fifty years ago is still affecting people’s actions today and those that think our children care about those things! There is no need for a competition between Clarence and Shelbina in our district. We are not Shelbina people or Clarence people, we are South Shelby people. We are humans in Shelby County trying to do what is best for the future of our families. I mourn for the division that has occurred between families, friends, and neighbors.

I am frustrated with the small group of people who thought that redistricting would be a better idea than to consolidate schools... Those of us against redistricting continue to ask questions and often we receive only the same few answers. Those for redistricting continue to go back and forth as they try to present the same information just in different words or no answers at all. First, we heard that the education received in the Shelby County R-IV School District is not as good as the one that could be received from Macon County R-I because they offer more. The Cardinal Kids United and the Shelby County R-IV School Board have presented factual information that proves otherwise. Then, it was said that a group of Shelby County residents are always being outvoted. However, one of the board members in the last election was not voted for by the majority in Shelbina and yet they still received a seat on the board. They also stated they are never heard and yet, we did not see any of those people stand up and speak at a board meeting. It’s hard to hear someone if they don’t communicate.

After listening to many speak, I truly believe all of this boils down to a .73 cent tax increase. At the ETO meeting Macon held recently, it was stated several times that they would not have to pay that .73 cent increase regardless if the redistricting occurred. The problem with this is there has not been a definite answer given as to whether or not those affected by the redistricting will have to pay that increase or not. We are at a point where unknowns are not an option. We need definite answers, we need certainty, and we need to ensure that we are making the right decisions as we are creating a legacy for our next generations to look up too. It is unacceptable at this point, for there to be any unknowns!

I am vexed with those who have talked down about our school, teachers, and administrators. Have we made mistakes as a school, you bet, but there is not a school in the world that is perfect. I believe that we, Shelby County R-IV, strive to always to do our best. I am annoyed by those who have spent too much time trying to tear our school and communities down. We should be building up our communities! That is not an example I want to set for my children. I am confused by those that feel that our school is so terrible. Yet not one word was said until Prop Kids passed. I am baffled by how many willingly threw away our students opinions as they have developed an educated voice and feel like they should have a say because after all, this affects them too! I am bewildered by those who think that this entire situation, if passed wouldn’t have a larger impact than just the closing of the buildings. I am puzzled by the answer, or the non-answer, given by an ETO (Excellence Through Opportunity) member, when asked a question about taxes she responded with, “That is an unanswerable question by ETO, and can be directed to Mr. Jarvis and the Macon County R-1 Board of Education. Given that arbitration has never been used in Missouri under these circumstances, I don't know that anyone can answer that question, simply because it has never happened before.” Are we as a community supposed to be ok with any unknowns? No we should not! For that reason I am asking all voters to please make sure that you vote even if you think the redistricting will not pass I am encourage you to go vote NO! If you are still on the fence, please vote NO, our children and grandchildren’s futures are not worth the risk associated with the unknowns!

Thank you,

Charlene Brengle

Mom, Wife, Friend,
Community Member, and
Aid at Shelby County R-IV