Becher’s Departure Means New Board President

“When the list of candidates who had filed to run for the Affton School District Board of Education became final on Jan. 18, one name that was conspicuous by its absence was that of Ron Becher, the board president since 2009.

That means after the new board is seated in four months, a new president will have to be chosen from among its members.

In response to many well wishes from his fellow board members – some who seemed surprised he did not file for re-election – at the Jan. 25 regular meeting, Becher said, “I’m not gone yet.”

Becher, who is a technical support manager for AT&T Communications, said the decision to leave the district board “was made easier because of the many excellent board members this district has.”

“I think one of my big things when I came on the board was the comprehensive school improvement plan, and communication was another big one. We’ve laid a path forward for promoting the district, and I think we’ve done a pretty job of attaining our goals,” Becher said.

“There are going to be big shoes to fill, whoever fills (Becher’s) seat,” said board member Chris Castellanos.

The candidates who are running in the April 5 election are incumbents Thomas Bellavia and Mike Alexander, along with challengers Susan Casaleggi and Keith E. Stiefvater. The election will fill three seats.

Shrewsbury TIF

The Affton School District received notification that the 23 public schools within St. Louis County agreed to support the Affton Board’s nomination of Board Vice President Michael McNeil and district business manager John Brazeal for two seats on the Shrewsbury Tax-Increment Finance (TIF) Board. Half of Shrewsbury is in the Affton School District.

Shrewsbury is contemplating a business redevelopment plan on the site of the old Kenrick Plaza that would include a possible Walmart store, contingent upon tax-increment financing.

Brazeal, who has been monitoring the Shrewsbury City Council’s actions regarding the possible TIF, said the city has not set a date for the TIF board to convene and does not seem to be moving too rapidly at this point.

“They made a motion in November to reach an agreement on a ‘term sheet’ – setting forth the key components of the TIF, and also on a conceptual site plan to present to the

public,” Brazeal said. “They gave themselves until Dec. 14 to complete this, but it hasn’t happened yet. They also need a cost-benefit analysis, but they haven’t yet hired someone to do that report. It’s a hurry-up-and-wait situation, it seems.”

Wii Comes To Affton Schools

Wii, the interactive video play sensation, has found its way into Affton’s public schools, courtesy of the St. Louis District Dairy Council, America’s Dairy Farmers and Rogers Middle School Nurse Kathy Beezley.

During a meeting of the district wellness committee last year, Beezley proposed submitting a grant proposal to the dairy industry in order to purchase five Wii units to promote physical exercise at Rogers. Interi

m Superintendent Ken Weissflug said the proposal was successful, and Rogers will be receiving the units. They will be made available to students after school hours, though details apparently have not been worked out;

Location Scout In Affton

Hollywood is once again looking at the Affton School District as a possible location for a feature film. Weissflug said that John Latenser, a location coordinator for Paramount Pictures, visited an Affton High School art class recently with the possible goal of lining up a location shoot.

If chosen, it won’t be the first time the district provided some of the background shots for a Paramount production. Some scenes for the 2009 film “Up in the Air,” starring George Clooney, were shot in the Affton District.”

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Printed in the South County Times on January 28, 2011

Article by Joe Leicht

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