I graduated with a BS in mechanical engineering from UMR (S&T) in 1990. My wife graduated from UMSL with a BS in elementary education in 1992. We met while we were both attending UMR. We
were married in 1992 and have five children – 1 boy and 4 girls. Each of my children attended Francis Howell schools. Three of my children have graduated from Francis Howell Central High School. Two are still at Francis Howell Central High School.
We moved to St Charles from central Illinois in 1997 and have been in St. Charles since. Our children originally attended private schools and moved to Francis Howell School District schools as the oldest children approached high school. Our experiences with the schools in the district have been very good. The teachers, the principals, the coaches, and the support staff have been dedicated and supportive of our children.
New oversight of the district's money management practice is needed. Proposition S (Prop S), approved by voters in June 2020, was a ballot measure to sell $244 million in bonds "for the purpose of acquiring land and buildings and constructing, renovating, repairing, expanding, improving, furnishing, and equipping school sites, buildings, and related facilities for school purposes in the district facilities."
One of the biggest line items in the Comprehensive Facilities Master Plan (CFMP), commissioned by the district in 2018, was the renovation or replacement of Francis Howell North (FHN) High School. Ultimately a controversial decision was made to replace FHN in lieu of renovating the existing building, which was built in approximately 1970, even though enrollment throughout the district has been dropping for years. The original budget for the Francis Howell North High School, per the CFMP, was $86.4 million (2018 dollars). The CFMP was used as the basis for the 2020 Proposition S ballot measure that voters approved. In December 2021 the board in place at the time approved spending $164.7 million to replace FHN, taking nearly $78 million from other projects, buildings, staff, and students throughout the district.
This is an addition to other Prop S cost overruns the Board had approved prior to December 2021, including (1) Security Vestibules-147% overrun, (2) Bryan Middle School Parking Lot-253% overrun, Saeger Middle School Parking Lot-133% overrun, and (3) Francis Howell Central High School Parking Lot-410% increase over the CFMP estimate, Several of the administration members who were responsible for these decisions are no longer with the district now, but it is noteworthy that five of the seven current board members, including both Patrick Lane and Doug Ziegemeier who are currently running for re-election, voted to approve all of these Prop S spending overruns. With new administrative leadership, we need new board members who will more carefully balance the needs of the district against taxpayer's hard-earned money.
Back to Basics Education
I believe that the focus of the public schools should be on teaching students the building blocks for a successful life after high school: reading, writing, math, science, history, and civics. These are sometimes called “the basics.”
An emphasis on learning must return without outside noise. Any social engineering or CRT-laced curriculum that emphasizes certain people as privileged and others as still systemically oppressed needs to be removed from the schools. These types of arguments are pure theory, and do not share a broad consensus among academics or historians; therefore, they have no place in the K-12 public schools. Furthermore, parents should not need to worry about their children being put into boxes or being directed to think about social issues in a way that contradicts the parents’ beliefs.
I will advocate for teachers to do more of what they’re passionate about – teaching. Politics and the never-ending focus on current social trends need to be removed from the classroom. My focus will be on a return to basic education for all students, so that all students can grow into well-rounded,