ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) – The Francis Howell School District has a projected budget shortfall of $22 million dollars which may force the district to cut 80 jobs, half of which would be teaching positions.
“Where it gets tricky is you have, as an example, a first grade teacher retire, but you need to trim high school math,” said Dr. Steven Griggs, Human Resources Officer for the school district. “Sometimes the attrition and where you need to trim don’t match.”
Francis Howell has more than 17,000 students, 1300 teachers, 900 district employees, and a projected budget of $203 million dollars. Griggs says he expects most of the job cuts could be handled through employees taking jobs elsewhere or retiring.
One resident, Randy Watson, is critical of district’s decision and says they brought this predicament on themselves. “Our average teacher makes about $58,200. Next is Fort Zumwalt and that average teacher makes about $52,000. I’m not against teachers getting raises, but we don’t have the funds to pay for them.”
Watson also says part of the solution to the problem may be to ask teachers not to take a pay raise. “Teachers are very good people. Again, I’m not knocking teachers,” Watson said. “But if they know the severity of our problem, they might consider doing that.” He also says he doesn’t want the financial burden to go to tax payers either.
One option on the table is to ask voters to approve a property tax increase. The district says it will recommend other spending cuts as well.