Looking Ahead: Francis Howell Board Approves Budget for Next Year

District will be operating at a deficit for the 2011-12 school year.

It’s only fitting that the last Francis Howell Board of Education of the 2010-11 school year would start to look to the next school year.

With a 6-1 vote, the Board approved the preliminary budget for the 2011-12 school year. Board Director Mark Lafata was the lone dissenting vote on the budget.

The preliminary budget was first discussed at the June 2 meeting. With declining revenues because of decreasing property taxes and lower funding by the state, the Francis Howell School District will be operating on a deficit budget and using reserve money to cover the losses.

The budget projects revenues of $202,275,294 for the 2011-12 school year. In 2010-11, the District had revenues of $247,106,758. On the expenses side, the budget calls for the District to spend $220,749,317.

On the balance sheet, it appears that District would be operating with a nearly $18 million deficit, but Chief Financial Officer Kevin Supple said that was not the case. In 2010-11, the Board sold $16 million worth of bond money. That bond money was added to the revenue for 2010-11, but was always intended to carry over to the next year’s budget. The actual deficit for 2011-12 is only about $2 million.

Francis Howell is currently in the beginning stages of a budget crunch. Earlier this year, thepositions to reduce salary and expenses. The bond sale helps the District this year, but the road ahead presented in the budget is still littered with problems. Budget projects have the District losing $14 million in 2012-13, $17 million in 2013-14 and $13 million in 2014-15. According to the proposed budget, the District is currently developing a Strategic Plan for 2011-2016 with the primary focus of ensuring the District’s fiscal stability.

A complete look at the budget can be found here.


Following the regular business, the Board entered a work session to discuss policy and CSIP goal updates.

The policy discussion focused heavily on Board-related activities. First on the agenda was a discussion about election policies and how names are printed on the ballot. Currently the District goes in a first-come first-printed fashion. , Board President Mike Sommer was first to sign up and first on the ballot. Lafata was last to sign up and last on the ballot.

The policy proposed doing a lottery on the first day of sign-ups and a lottery on the last day of sign-ups.

After the election discussion, the work session turned toward committees. The District wants to restructure committees for the 2011-12 school year. The proposal calls for five committees and numerous subcommittees.

A disagreement came about when it came to Board involvement in the committees. The current rules wanted two Board members for each committee, meaning a committee and subcommittee could have four Board members.  If four Board members are acting on a committee in official capacity, it constitutes a quorum and an official Board of Education meeting. The administration said it was checking into the legality to make sure the policy would not violate Missouri Sunshine Laws.

The Board will vote to approve the policies at the July 21 meeting.


  • The Board approved all purchases more than $7,500. Included in the list are $168,000 for security cameras and $21,000 for a buzz-in system at five middle schools. The Board also agreed to purchase K-3 science textbooks and materials for $243,000.
  • The Board is only having one meeting in July—July 21.
  • A closed session meeting will take place June 23 at 5:45.
  • A presentation was made concerning the random drug testing program. Started in 2006-07, the program randomly tests students who have a parking pass, participate in extra circular activities or are signed up by parents. The Board reviewed the findings for the recently completed school year. In 2010-11, 87% of the student population was enrolled. There were 716 random tests done and 35 positive tests.
  • The meeting marked the end of the first year of Dr. Pam Sloan as superintendent. Board members praised her for work in the first year. 
  • FHEA president Julie Scholl began her retirement with an emotional farewell. Scholl broke into tears praising the Distirct and the Board. She said she will fondly remember her time serving in Francis Howell. 


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