ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The superintendent of the Mehlville School District expressed hope that taxpayers will help them retain current teachers and attract new ones.

Proposition E would raise around $6 million to allow the district to increase teacher salaries.

Superintendent Chris Gaines said starting teacher salaries at Mehlville are $2,300 less than the county average. He said the pay for Mehlville teachers at the top scale is $7,700 below the county average. Gaines said there’s a desperate need to raise teacher salaries. He said he does have a shortage of teachers.

”We do, especially in special areas, some areas are very difficult to find we don’t have,” Gaines said. “We’re short a gifted teacher. We’re short English language learner teachers. We’ve got a number of teachers who are retiring who are math and science teachers, we’re concerned about being able to find new math and science teachers.”

Some parents are in favor of Proposition E.

“I’m all for it. I’m in the school quite a bit, so I can really see the need and how hard the teachers work,” a parent said. “We’re one of the underpaid, most underpaid in the county, and I think it’s time to catch Mehlville up.”

However, not everyone felt that way.

“I don’t think it should be any taxes put on anything else, at this point the taxes are already high enough for everybody,” a woman said.

Gaines gave his thoughts to those who were opposed to tax increases.

“Well, I’m one of those people; I don’t want to pay higher taxes either,” he said. “But I also want a high-quality, effective teacher teaching my child.”