Energized for new school year

Francis Howell School District energized for new school year
By Dr. Mary Hendricks-Harris
I want to thank our students, staff, parents, and community for their strong support throughout the 2016-17 school year. While there certainly were some challenges, there were many more celebrations. It has been the highlight of my career to see and hear first-hand the student success stories across our district.
We have been busy this summer preparing for the more than 17,000 students who will begin school on Aug. 9. We ended the 2016-17 school year with a nearly balanced budget, after making reductions in many areas to offset rising costs.
The budget for the 2017-18 school year includes funding for new technology devices and for other needed resources such as tutoring, but reductions had to be made in professional development, updating curricula, high school security staff, extracurricular transportation and other areas in order to offset these costs.
Employee salaries are also frozen for the second consecutive year, and the board of education has voted to institute activity fees for most extra-curricular activities. While the fees are nominal, this funding source will help prevent additional reductions to student activities.
The district has also started the important process of strategic planning. Seeking input and ideas from all of our stakeholder groups, including community members, businesses, staff, students, and parents, will be a priority in the coming months.
I ask that our residents consider attending one of our community engagement meetings this fall, to help us determine the direction of our district for the next five years. For more information, please visit the district website at www.fhsdschools.org.
We are excited for the return of our re-energized students. Francis Howell is truly an amazing place, and I look forward to more student success stories in 2017-18.
Dr. Mary Hendricks-Harris is Superintendent of the Francis Howell School District.