Francis Howell School District Board of Education Places “Proposition Howell” on the November Ballot

Posted on 07/29/2016
Prop Howell

On July 28, 2016, the Francis Howell School District Board of Education voted to place “Proposition Howell,” a 60-cent operating levy increase, on the November 8, 2016, ballot. The increase in the operating levy must be approved by a simple majority; the last time that District voters approved a tax increase was in 2004.

Proposition Howell is a proposed increase to the existing operating levy that would enable the District to maintain high student academic achievement. The increased funding would allow the District to maintain class sizes, improve safety, increase technology, restore tutoring, attract and retain high-quality teachers, maintain District facilities, and maintain existing bus transportation. If the 60-cent levy increase were to be approved, the adjusted operating levy of the District is estimated to be $4.9472 per $100 of assessed valuation.

“The Board of Education strives to be good stewards of our public dollars,” said FHSD Board President Mark Lafata. “We have voluntarily reduced the tax rate in seven different years since 2004, saving District taxpayers over $30 million. Additionally, the District’s 20-cent special purpose levy expired three years ago, reducing the District’s revenue by $4 million annually. Today, the District needs an increase in the operating levy to be able to continue to provide the excellent educational programs and services our students deserve.”

The Board of Education is committed to providing an excellent public education for the students of our community at an exceptional value to our taxpayers. In fiscal year 2016, FHSD cut $8.2 million from the budget and reduced the equivalent of 62 full-time positions. The District also cut an additional $4 million for this school year, which includes the equivalent of 36 full-time positions. FHSD stakeholders have stated their desire that FHSD remain the highest achieving school district in the County. This increase is necessary for the District to maintain the quality education our stakeholders want and to honor that commitment to the community.

“As a new superintendent, one of my primary goals is to engage our community and solicit their feedback,” said FHSD Superintendent Dr. Mary Hendricks-Harris. “A survey of stakeholders conducted last year showed that an amazing 99% of respondents said that it was important or very important that Francis Howell continues to be the highest achieving school district in the County. We will need additional resources if our District and our students are to continue performing at the highest level.” FHSD has made $20 million in budget cuts over the past five years and had to reduce staff by 190 full-time positions since 2012.

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