Frank pleased with report by Proposition P Review Committee


Mehlville Board of Education Vice President Karl Frank Jr. is pleased with the final report of the Proposition P Review Committee that will be presented to the school board later this month.

Committee members, who began meeting last September, completed their work last week, answering nearly 100 questions regarding the Proposition P districtwide building-improvement program and finalizing their policy and procedural recommendations.

The committee is scheduled to present its final report to the Board of Education on Thursday, March 22.

“I could not be happier with the results of the Proposition P Review Committee. Not just because of their findings and recommendations, but because of what they accomplished on their own with complete independence from the operations and administration of the Mehlville School District,” Frank told the Call. “I am amazed at the competence and the resolve of the review committee to dedicate their efforts to getting to the bottom of what happened with the Proposition P project. The committee members had nothing to gain or lose by what they were to ultimately find out, and that gives me faith in our community.

“If any one person were to come in and take a look at the thousands of pages of documents that the review committee members had to drudge through over a period of six months, they would understand my awe. Not one of the members of this committee came in to the process knowing what they were getting in to and not one of them had any previous knowledge of the operations, procedures and implementation of the Proposition P project. This was an enormous task for all involved, and they could not have done a better job with the charge they were given,” the board vice president said.

Voters in November 2000 approved Proposition P, a nearly $68.4 million bond issue funded by a 49-cent tax-rate increase.

However, a final budget revision approved by the Board of Education in December 2005 raised the Proposition P budget to $89,137,440 — a roughly 30.3-percent increase — more than $20.7 million over the nearly $68.4 million building-improvement program originally envisioned.

The Board of Education voted unanimously in June to approve a motion by Frank and seconded by board member Tom Diehl to establish the Proposition P Re-view Committee.

In part, Frank’s motion states, “The Proposition P Review Committee will first seek input from the community by soliciting questions from the public in written form to be individually addressed in the final report. The submitted questions, as well as any other areas that the committee members should find necessary to review, will become the basis of this committee’s charge.”

The motion to form the panel also states, “The findings and recommendations are to be guided by a focus on providing constructive criticism, as well as positive confirmation and procedural improvement.

“After a thorough review by the Board of Education, the board will act appropriately on the findings and recommendations presented by the review committee. Upon completion of their report and presentation to the Board of Education, this committee will be dissolved.”

Frank and his wife, Elaine, submitted the majority of the nearly 100 questions regarding Proposition P. Oakville residents Paul Goldak and Felix Martin also submitted questions. The nearly 90 questions submitted by the Franks cover such areas as construction management, architectural and consulting contracts, “disclosure,” change orders, questions about specific projects, the Proposition P Oversight Committee and the Citizens’ Advisory Committee for Facilities.

During the committee’s final meeting Feb. 28, members tweaked policy and procedural recommendations they previously had drafted.

Committee members had drafted four policy recommendations. They fine tuned those recommendations last week, changing one procedural proposal to a fifth policy recommendation and adding another procedural suggestion.

Policy recommendations include:

• All district contracts over a set amount require presentation and approval by the Board of Education, and if approved, must be signed by the CFO/board treasurer or superintendent and by the president of the Board of Education.

• All district construction contracts must be reviewed and signed off on by the district legal counsel. A confirmation letter outlining suggested recommendations and revisions must accompany the contract when presented for approval to the Board of Education.

• All contractual change orders over a set amount should be presented to the president of the Board of Education prior to their final approval. A monthly summary of all change orders and their financial implications should be provided to the Board of Education.

• All district oversight committees should be comprised of non-board member citizens of the community who are not employed by the Mehlville School District nor have any immediate family that is em-ployed by the district. School-board members and administrators can be ex-officio, non-voting committee members on any district committee.

• When dealing with expending public tax funds, it is important that all financial information should be open and easily accessible for public scrutiny.

The new procedural recommendation states, “If there are surplus funds remaining after all Prop P construction is completed, then a report to the community should be issued on how the Board of Education and district administration intend to utilize the funds.”

Frank told the Call he believes the committee’s policy and procedural recommendations were well formulated and appreciates the panel’s hard work.

“I believe that the policy and procedure recommendations made by the committee are recommendations that, if we as a board implement, will help the community with their confidence in Mehlville’s fiduciary judgment, as well as our ability to deliver as promised on projects proposed to the community,” he said. “Ultimately, projects like Proposition P provide a more safe, secure and technologically sufficient resource for the children of our community, which, in turn, makes the families of our community want to stay and live in the Mehlville School District.

“Whether it was their intention or not, this committee has gone a long way in helping the Mehlville School District work toward restoring the faith our community once had in us while adding another piece to the puzzle that shows the big picture of competence that we truly possess in Mehlville as educators and as responsible stewards of tax dollars — hence the Distinction in Performance Award issued to Mehlville by the state of Missouri in ‘recognition of our academic progress and achievement,”’ Frank said.