Lindbergh, MFPD embody sound fiscal stewardship

By Mike Anthony

Superintendent Jim Simpson calls the Lindbergh Board of Education’s 6-0 vote to construct a $2.8 million Early Childhood Education Annex behind Truman Middle School “historic.”

Simpson believes the board’s vote was historic for a number of reasons, including the fact that the new building will easily last half a century and possibly longer, and address an immediate need, the district’s pervasive enrollment growth.

The board’s decision also was historic, according to the superintendent, because while the district likely will receive some state funds to construct the annex, the bulk of the money will come from the district’s reserves.

In fact, the annex may be the first building Lindbergh has ever constructed using reserve funds. But that’s a testament to the fiscal stewardship of district officials, as it will be a one-time expenditure.

Construction of the ECE Annex will drop those reserves to roughly $20 million, an amount sufficient for the district to not have to borrow money to meet its fiscal obligations.

The best part is district taxpayers will not be on the hook for any long-term debt. We’re aware of only one other entity in south county that has constructed new buildings without any legacy debt, and that’s the Mehlville Fire Protection District.

Since Board of Directors Chairman Aaron Hilmer and Secretary Bonnie Stegman took office in 2005, four new firehouses have been built, starting with Engine House No. 1, 3241 Lemay Ferry Road. Work on that firehouse began under a previous board, but was completed after Hilmer and Stegman took office.

Under the current board — Hilmer, Stegman and Secretary Ed Ryan, who was first elected in April 2007 — three more firehouses have been constructed without debt, including Engine House No. 2 at 5434 Telegraph Road in 2009, Engine House No. 4 at 13117 Tesson Ferry Road in 2011 and Engine House No. 3 at 4811 S. Lindbergh Blvd. in 2012.

Both Lindbergh and the MFPD have a long-standing tradition of being fiscally responsible to their taxpayers, while providing outstanding services.

Lindbergh is ranked No. 1 in the state for academic achievement for the fifth consecutive year.

And the MFPD continues to live up to its vision statement, which reads, “… We are recognized by our leaders, peers and the community for excellence in delivering the best service in a fiscally responsible manner.”