Budget issues put Ferguson-Florissant School Board vote under microscope

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by Lauren Trager / KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on March 13, 2013 at 10:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 13 at 10:52 PM

(KMOV.com) -- Wednesday, the Ferguson-Florissant School Board grappled with how to cut $10-million dollars from its budget after cutting $15 million just a year ago.

After a series of suggestions from the superintendent, the board didn’t make any decisions but it put almost every line item under the microscope.

However according to officials, the district could have saved tens of thousands of dollars if the board had not agreed a few years ago to give a former superintendent health insurance coverage for the rest of his life.

Board member Leslie Hogshead denies she ever approved the payout, and its campaigning for re-election saying she didn’t vote for the controversial contract.

However, opponents say her account of events may not be accurate.

Ramona Lentz could barely believe her eyes when she opened her copy of the Ferguson Times. Lentz’s husband is the former board member who championed the contract. Lentz  says Hogsheads ad in the paper declaring she did not vote for the contract is a lie.

“It just amazed me,” she said. “It really did.”

Board documents seem to contradict Hogshead’s statement. According to the official meeting minutes, she voted by phone for the contract.

Hogshead said  the situation is all a big mistake. She says because she wasn’t physically at the meeting her vote legally wouldn’t count. Because of this, she says she can’t recall which way she leaned.

“I honestly don’t because again, I knew that it wouldn’t count,” she said. “I was not trying to hide anything, I am still not, because there’s nothing to hide.”

Hogshead has pulled all mention of the insurance issue from future ads, but Lentz says the voters have been mislead.

“I think that’s the reason it was written the way it was written and underlined the way it was underlined.” 

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