Proposition B updates school district

Last November, voters decided to give $78.5 million to Howell, Howell North and Daniel Boone Elementary. This proposition was approved by 65% of voters. This large sum of money will be supported by general obligation bonds. These are loans that the Francis Howell school district is obligated to pay back to bond holders. FHSD levies a debt service levy on all taxable property in the district. The funds that come from this levy pay the principal and interest costs on the bonds. FHC students might be disappointed to learn that none of this money is going to their school. However, those three schools need that funding.

“The Howell High school campus is the oldest of the district’s three high schools, with buildings dating to the 1950s. Proposition B provides funds to replace most of the existing campus buildings. The construction of a new Howell high school will address the existing facility issues that are due to the aging buildings, and allow for a more secure facility for students and staff,” said Kevin Supple, FHSD’s Chief Financial Officer.

Part of Howell’s construction is for safety. Howell consists of more than one building; students sometimes walk outside to arrive at their next class. There are 30 accessible doors throughout the day. Proposition B construction will significantly lower this number. With buildings that old, Howell needed construction much sooner. Other schools, such as Daniel Boone Elementary, also contain out-dated structures. Because of a steady increase of students, Daniel Boone Elementary will update its kitchen, cafeteria and various portions of the building that date to the 1950s. Similarly, Howell North needs to update its resources. Specifically, Howell North’s science labs need improvement.

“Freshmen and sophomore years, I was in a class where there was absolutely no room to even perform experiments,” said Howell North junior Briona Perry. “Freshman year the experiments were very basic, but still, we had to go out in the hallway just to allow more space to conduct our experiments.”

For her sophomore year, Perry took biology.

“One day we did a ‘gene’ lab; we watched the patterns of various chromosomes and the effect genes had. With a class of about 23 students, we really couldn’t get the full effect of the experiment simply because we were in a regular-sized classroom,” said Perry.

“Francis Howell North High School was originally constructed as a middle school. The current science labs do not meet standards imposed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Proposition B will provide funds to construct four new science labs, bringing [Howell North] science labs up to the same standards as the District’s other high schools,” said Supple.

Howell North’s science labs are still in the planning stages, but Howell’s construction is already underway. Many students and faculty look forward to the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year; all of Howell’s construction is projected to be finished by that time.