Faced with a growing budget deficit and ongoing facility needs, the Affton Board of Education unanimously voted on Tuesday, Aug. 2 to place two proposals on the Nov. 8 ballot. Labeled Propositions I and N, the proposals are designed to provide long term financial stability for the district by balancing the budget, avoiding further cuts in staff and programs, maintaining the ability to pay teachers a competitive salary, and enabling the district to continue its program of keeping buildings well maintained with up-to-date educational spaces.
The Board of Education vote followed recommendations by the district’s Citizens Advisory Council and was based on feedback from a series of community engagement meetings with Affton parents and community, and input from facilities and school staff. Combined, Proposition I, a 38 cent tax levy, and Proposition N, a $25 million bond issue, would require a 87 cent increase to the local tax rate, which would cost the median Affton homeowner approximately $230 per year (about $19.15 per month).
“Our district has seen increasing expenses and enrollment while facing decreasing revenue and assessed valuation in the community. In response, as responsible planners and stewards of district finances, we have aggressively reduced the district’s budget by over $2 million over two years with the goal of making cuts as far away from our classroom teachers as possible,” said Dr. Steve Brotherton, superintendent. “The Board takes its responsibility for fiscal stewardship very seriously, only turning to taxpayers as a last resort and only asking for what is truly needed.”
Prop I will increase revenue by approximately $1.4 million, allowing the district to retain its current number of teachers, protect programs and class sizes, eliminate deficit spending, protect transportation to and from school, and secure property values for district residents.
Prop N will restructure existing capital lease debt, adding $1.6 million to the district’s general operating fund, and provide $10-12 million to continue capital improvements to district schools and learning spaces. Projects were prioritized by the district’s Buildings and Grounds Committee following a year-long facilities audit. The plans will:
- Renovate classrooms to 21st Century standards throughout the district,
- Improve safety and security in every building throughout the district,
- Implement Capital Improvement Plan renovations at Gotsch Intermediate, to include a secure entry, a new gymnasium and eight new classrooms, ADA improvements, and cafeteria renovation,
- Implement Capital Improvement Plan renovations at Rogers Middle School, to include a secure entry, two new classrooms, ADA improvements, and
- Implement Capital Improvement Plan renovations at Affton High School, to include locker room restoration and renovation.
“It took time and hard work to make Affton School District one of the best in all of St. Louis County,” said Jeff Brown, Affton resident and co-chair of the district’s Citizens Advisory Council. “We can’t sacrifice the quality of schools that we have achieved.”
Adds Michelle Burford, Shrewsbury resident and council co-chair, “With the average school building now 59 years old, they require ongoing maintenance, repair and renovation in order to provide students with the quality education our community deserves and expects.”
Click here for more information on Proposition I and Proposition N.