At the previous December 7th special board meeting, district CFO Supple said that they made a “strategic decision” to use, for the first time, the “CMaR” process.
Radically different from the traditional design-bid-build approach, under “CMaR” construction is started before bids or even design on the project is complete.
He proudly asserted that this was done in the hope to save 5 months on the schedule, and $1-2M in cost savings.
This decision wasn’t “strategic”, it was a disastrous gamble to proceed with “build first, bid later” construction in May 2021 during the pandemic. If bids came in over budget (in this case 92% or $80M), then options such as deferring, scope reduction, phased implementation, etc., are severely limited. And so we were presented with an “It’s too late now” proposal.
As a sour joke for taxpayers – “CMaR” stands for “Contract Manager at Risk”. As we have have seen, taxpayers were the ones taking the risks.
When it was clear to the administration and project managers nearly a year ago that these risks were a reality, how did they respond?
They failed in their obligations to the board and the community by keeping it quiet:
- They deliberately understated project costs both to the board and public
- They increased the scope of the project without transparency
- At each phase of the project, they did not report overruns in project estimates to the board
In the December 16th board meeting, how did Superintendent Hoven explain this?
“In hindsight“, he said that “The CMaR process should have led to a different approach regarding board and public communication”
In hindsight ????? This is what bureaucrats say when they get caught making terrible decisions and hiding the damage
On December 15, the Missouri Senators and Representatives representing St. Charles County sent this letter to the board insisting that they suspend approval of this and other Prop S projects until remedial actions have been taken. This letter was ignored.
Watch as Chris Brooks asks the board to pause and fix this broken process:
Also speaking on this topic:
- 45:51 Adam Bertrand
- 51:27 Randy Cook
The board voted to accept the bid, but review of documents reveals that the final cost of the school could run $180 million
Taxpayers will not be the only ones to suffer from this reckless decision
Voters will have cause to lose faith in the Francis Howell School district, and they will not approve additional bond issues and tax increases to provide replacement funding. Teachers will suffer, as the district will not be able to pay them competitively. Students will suffer as the quality of their education will deteriorate. The spiraling decline in Francis Howell’s reputation will affect the property values of homeowners.
Francis Howell Families calls for the the board to immediately:
- Engage an independent line-item audit of all Prop S projects,
- Immediately release all emails, meeting minutes, notes, and documentation related to the planning and bidding,
- Demand the resignations of anyone responsible for withholding information from the board and deceiving the public as to the true cost of the project.
It is imperative that the School Board move quickly to restore proper fiscal leadership.
What you can do:
- Make sure that you vote on April 5 and get your friends and neighbors to do the same.
- Find out more about the candidates that we are endorsing – Adam Bertrand and Randy Cook
- Please contact us if you have questions, or find out how you can help us return Francis Howell to fiscal sanity.
- Consider making a donation to help us elect better school board members.