Ladue Mayor Shares the Importance of Ice Cream Tax

MICDS first graders had a very special visit this week from the Mayor of the City of Ladue, Nancy Spewak. Mayor Spewak was able to bring life to the current classroom theme, St. Louis Community Helpers. First Grade Teacher Kara Pracht said, “It is exciting for the students to connect our classroom learning with the real world.”

Spewak described the difference between a city and a municipality and how the mayor works with all other municipal mayors in St. Louis County because they all share the same roads and businesses. In Ladue, Spewak is in charge of the police, fire, and public works departments—all the departments that help keep its residents safe. She shared how she works with city council members to create and modify local laws and said, “Working together and listening to each other is the most important thing I can do because sometimes people don’t agree. But when we listen to each other, we can often find common ground and solutions.” Spewak also explained how property tax, utility tax, and even tax on ice cream from Baskin Robbins helps fund the Ladue city budget!

Spewak then fielded questions from first-grade students:

Hayes G. ’33: What’s it like to be Mayor?
Mayor Spewak: It’s great! I like helping people and solving problems. The police chief and I work on issues like traffic at school carpools. I also help people understand what they need to do if they want to put a swimming pool in their backyard. Sometimes I get to do fun stuff like cut ribbons when a new store opens.

Elliot R. ’33: What’s a normal day like for the Mayor?
Spewak: On Wednesdays, I meet at 8 a.m. at City Hall with the police chief, then the fire chief, I check in with the city clerk’s office for messages or issues that need help, and I check up on the finances of the city. Sometimes I visit with police officers, and I mostly prepare for council meetings where we make laws or change laws.

Maggie B. ’33: What happens if you’re sick and can’t work?
Spewak: It’s important to stay home when you’re sick, so I stay home and get better and go back to work another day!

Fletcher W. ’33: What are the laws?
Spewak: There are police laws like no stealing, hurting others, or littering. There are permit laws for doing work on your property, so the work is done correctly, and a unique but essential law about not directing water from your yard into your neighbors’.

Cash A. ’33: Can a kid be a mayor?
Spewak: You just have to be over 18!

Head of School Jay Rainey joined the visit and complimented the students on such good questions and shared how he and other heads of school work with the mayor, police, and fire departments for issues like traffic and campus safety.

At the end of the visit, First Grade Teacher Robin Campbell said, “After Mayor Spewak was finished speaking, I heard two children say ‘I want to be the Mayor!’”

Thank you, Mayor Spewak, for an informative and inspiring visit!