ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The Normandy School District is facing some of the same issues as the Francis Howell district; rising costs on planned high school construction projects. Some of the culprits are the same, too. School board members say they were kept in the dark by school administrators.

Normandy has a $32 million renovation of its high school. But now it’s going to cost $42 million dollars, $10 million dollars more than planned.

Board Presidents Ron Roberts said there were a lot of changes to the project after it was approved.

“The problem is we have experienced some change orders with the project here. Roughly about 13% of the budget; about $3.4 million,” he said.

“I think the issue overall was transparency, communication. Sometimes, when you aren’t as forthcoming as you ought to be, then it causes a lot of confusion and a lot of problems. The board made decisions based on the information that was presented. We acted on that. But recently, we discovered that there was missing information.”

Community leaders met to voice their concerns about this deal. They helped to force out the former superintendent. The new superintendent has apparently uncovered a lot of questionable spending decision made by his predecessor.

Mayor James McGee is one of those who helped to oust the previous administration.

“They kept their secrets, they didn’t let us know anything about the construction, they didn’t consult the community about any bids that they went out for,” he said. “So, we were totally in the dark.”

He credits the new administration with being more transparent.

St. Louis County Councilwoman Rita Heard-Days calls this an important project.

“It’s very important. Normandy is on the cusp of either going forward with the educational process of these kids here. These kids deserve a nice place to come, a good place to get an education. The voters deserve the absolute best, as well as kids in the Normandy School District.”

The renovation was supposed to be completed by October. School officials said they’ll use ARPA money to make up the added cost of $10 million.