Mehlville panel chair responds to ‘misinformation,’ ‘distortion of facts’ in letter

To the editor:

I am the chairman of the Mehlville School District’s Finance Committee. When I read the Dec. 8 letter to the editor from Greg Frigerio regarding the proposed school of innovation, I found I had to respond to refute the misinformation and distortion of facts that were presented.

First, the comments on Prop R were blatantly misleading.

The Finance Committee’s focus has been to present the facts as known regarding the Mehlville School District’s financial status. We have not inserted personal or political commentary into our analysis.

We review the data regarding the financial status of the district and interpret those numbers. Prop R’s $8-plus million dollars and the spending of those funds are being monitored by the Finance Committee, and there will be a report presented at a future board meeting regarding the spending of those funds.

We plan to do this reporting annually.

In addition, the reference to a $1 million surplus shows a lack of understanding of financial management. The school district’s budget is in excess of $100 million.

A million-dollar variance is less than 1 percent. Financial management resulting in less than a 1-percent variance is considered excellent financial management in all types and sizes of organizations.

With regard to the proposed school of innovation, the school board has requested the Finance Committee’s input on whether the district has the financial resources to fund the proposed school.

To meet this request, we requested the district administration prepare a detailed budget of the expected one-time and ongoing expenditures that it will take to fund the proposed school.

The committee expects to receive this information in the near future. Once we have it, we will meet to analyze the budget as compared to the financial resources of the district.

At that point, we will provide input to the school board as to our feeling on whether the district has the financial resources to fund the proposed school. This analysis has not been completed. We anticipate it taking place in the next 30 days and presented to the board to assist them in determining whether this is the appropriate path for the Mehlville School District.

This review by the Finance Committee was mentioned in a Nov. 17 Call article.

Mr. Frigerio must have missed that edition.

The Finance Committee consists of residents of the district that have financial backgrounds. It includes multiple certified public accountants, business owners and other financial professionals.

I am positive that the analysis of the costs and the related impact on the school district will be examined thoroughly by the Finance Committee.