Losing more than money

The Francis Howell School District is facing major cutbacks in the form of money and a superintendent.


The Francis Howell School District has found itself in a major cut back due to a large budget cut. This cut was supposed to be fixed by Prop Y, a tax levy for ninety cents to reinstate a large amount of money the district lost, however this levy failed when it was put on the Aug. ballot. Mrs. Rene Cope ,Vice President of the Board of Education for FHSD, knows that these cuts will be a devastating monetary loss.

“We have already cut $8.5 million from this year’s budget, but if the tax levy in April fails we will have to cut another $4 million from next year’s budget,” Mrs. Cope said.

Monetary losses can be directly attributed to Missouri’s education formula, a numerical value that gives a baseline to funding the education. Mr. Kevin Supple is the Chief Finance Officer for the school district.

The Deputy Commissioner of Education estimates that full funding of the formula would require a State Adequacy Target (SAT) of $6,810. The appropriations from the state only allow for an SAT of $6,110,” Mr. Supple said. “If the appropriations were sufficient to fund the $6,810 SAT, FHSD would receive an additional $12.5 million this fiscal year.”

This budget cut will cause many cuts to come into the school district especially in the staffing area, that will have large effects on the classroom.

“The largest list item is staff salary,” Mrs. Cope said. “We would have to have larger classes as well as less experienced teachers.”

There are other cuts that will have to be made if this levy fails, these other changes may come in the form of transportation, textbooks, and technological advances. Dr. Pam Sloan, superintendent of Francis Howell School District, helps decide which cuts are to be made.

“The other half was tutoring, textbook purchases, and technological advances,” Dr. Sloan said. “Each class is in a six-year cycle, instead of being a six-year cycle it [the textbook cycle] can be moved up to eight.”

The loss of this money is not the only thing being lost for the school district, Dr. Sloan is retiring at the end of the 2015-16 school year. This retirement is supposed to make her schedule more flexible.

“I knew the end of it was coming. I wanted to make it through this tax levy and school year. We just had a new grandson, so I wanted more flexibility,” Dr. Sloan said.

The board is undergoing a search for the new superintendent taking over the district starting the 2016-2017 school year. The district will be hosting three meetings in the next week, with one at FHC tomorrow from 6:30-7:30 p.m. The board hopes to be able to announce a new superintendent during the first week of February 2016.

“Last week, we interviewed three superintendent scouting companies and hired one (McPherson & Jacobson). We look for someone based on what the board, the staff, and the community wants,” Mrs. Cope said. “Our goal to find a new superintendent is by January.”

The need for a superintendent reaches a lot of criteria depending on each person’s different views on what the district needs. McPherson & Jacobson has created a survey to assess the district’s needs.

“I cannot speak for the rest of the board, but what I want is a visionary, someone who can help with new technology and the way students will learn in the future,” Mrs. Cope said. “A forward thinker in other words.”