Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Have You Seen A Copy of Fox C-6's 2013-2014 Annual Budget?

The Fox C-6 school board approved the district's 2013-2014 annual budget at the June 2013 school board meeting. After the meeting I asked our school board secretary to post a copy of the 2013-2014 Fox C-6 budget on the district website. I was told that it would probably be a few weeks before it would get posted if it was allowed to be posted. Fox has not published their annual budget on the district website yet but I am hopeful that they will. Also, the district did not publish the salary schedules for the administration and the teachers yet in the June 2013 board packet like they did last year. So, hopefully that information will get added as well.

When I asked our school board to post the budget on the district website in the past at school board meetings, I was informed by Superintendent Dianne Critchlow that the information was on MO DESE's website. There is very limited data on the MO DESE website. It does not provide any detail as to how your taxpayer dollars are being spent by our school district. That's why the annual budget that the school board approves each year should be published on Fox's website like they do in other school districts such as Rockwood.

Rockwood publishes a very extensive report and provides their community with a great picture of what is going on in their school district.

The Fox C-6 school board members were provided a copy of the budget in their last minute board meeting notes prior to the June 2013 school board meeting. However, the board meeting packets posted on the district website have not been updated with this information. Therefore, I am making another request to our school board that they publish this document on the district website for the community.

Fox's budget document should be published annually on the district website like they do in other school districts in order to be more transparent. This is part of keeping the public informed about how their taxpayer dollars are being spent.

Demographic Comparisons With Rockwood
For comparison's sake, Rockwood's Total Expeditures is twice that of Fox. Rockwood has nearly twice as many schools (30 vs 18) and nearly twice the number of students (22,268 vs 11,614).

I would like our school board to explain to the community why they approved increasing Superintendent Dianne Critchlow's salary to an amount higher than that of Rockwood's former superintendent. Her 2013-2014 salary was originally scheduled to be higher than Rockwood's new interim superintendent who will be making $250,000 for the 2013-2014 school year. But that salary amount is based upon her salary schedule from last year.

Superintendent Critchlow's salary amount is even more distorted by the fact that Rockwood's Median Household Income is 50% higher than that of Fox residents and a Median Home Price of nearly double that of Fox.

So, how did Superintendent Critchlow's salary get so out of line?

Fox C-6 School District Demographics and Data 
Superintendent Dianne Critchlow's 2013 Salary:  $246,824
Head Nurse Gee Palmer's Salary:  $76,553
Median Household Income:  $62,649
Median House Price:  $165,900
Total Expenditures:  $135,958,354
ACT Composite Score: 22.3
ACT Percent of Graduates Tested: 55.98%
Land Area: 74 sq. miles (It's not 104 sq. miles as shown on Fox's website)

Rockwood R-VI School District Demographics and Data
Superintendent Bruce Borchers 2013 Salary:  $230,000
Head Nurse Salary:  $64,564
Median Household Income:  $94,139
Median House Price:  $291,900
Total Expenditures:  $271,432,719
ACT Composite Score: 23.7
ACT Percent of Graduates Tested: 96.25%
Land Area: 154 sq. miles

Knowing that Rockwood has double the number of students and nearly double the number of schools, why would Fox's District Head Nurse Gee Palmer's be paid more than $20,000 more than her counterpart at Rockwood?

Could Gee Palmer have a higher pay due to the fact that she is the wife of current school board vice president Dave Palmer?

The community should be highly concerned about these salary comparisons. These salaries definitely don't make sense. Both Gee Palmer and Rockwood's district head nurse have the same number of years of service in their school district's according to MO DESE data. Maybe our school board can explain the difference to our community.

For an example of an annual budget document from another school district, I have included a link to the Rockwood R-VI School District's 2012-2013 Annual Budget. Rockwood received an Excellence in Financial Reporting award for their budget presentation. You will see why after you download and review their budget document.

Rockwood recently hired an interim superintendent to replace Dr. Borchers who recently left the school district after pressure from the community. Just like Fox, Rockwood has a couple of new school board members this year as well.

Please take the time to download and review Rockwood's budget information as an excellent example of an annul budget report.

Please tell your Fox C-6 school board members that you would like this same type of information for our community. With as much as we are paying Superintendent Critchlow, we should have the same quality document if not better for our district!

Rockwood R-VI School District 2013-2014 Annual Budget