On Tues., Sept. 26, the Affton Board of Education unanimously approved the 2017 blended tax rate of $5.4788. This includes a voluntary tax rollback of 35-cents.
“Due to an unexpected increase in assessed valuation of properties in our community, Affton School District is opting to forego funds that would be made possible by Proposition I, an operating tax levy increase approved by voters in November 2016,” said Tom Bellavia, Affton Board of Education President. “It is vitally important that our Board of Education remain fiscally responsible, and that includes easing the tax burden on our community whenever possible.”
Adds Dr. Steve Brotherton, superintendent: “We have made a pledge to uphold transparency, and want to honor what we told the Affton community last fall when explaining why Props I and N were necessary. Affton School District needed to add $3 million to our operating revenue to provide financial stability for the future, and we’re now finding the increase in property values this year leads to an increase in district revenue. Taking just 3-cents of Prop I along with Prop N will meet this goal, and we, together with our Board of Education, feel strongly that the district should continue to live within our means. We are committed to helping our community stay strong.”
As promised, Affton School District has honored its commitment to the community by selling $20.9 million in bonds in January 2017 as part of Proposition N, a $0.49 bond issue also approved by voters in November 2016. Those funds have been used to retire capital lease debt from 2011-12, add funds to the general revenue, as well as provide $9 million for capital improvement projects throughout the district.
To date, funds generated from Prop N have been used toward:
- Implementing Phase I of Capital Improvement Plan renovations at Gotsch Intermediate School, including a new gymnasium (completion scheduled for Spring 2018),
- Implementing Capital Improvement Plan renovations at Affton High School, including locker room and training room restoration and renovation,
- Making progress on routine maintenance and repairs throughout the district, including repair and renovation to parking lots, a new roof for the cafeteria at Affton High School, new ceilings and lighting in the stairwells at Rogers Middle School, and asbestos tile removal in the hallway at Gotsch Intermediate School, and
- Improving safety and security throughout the district, including new classroom doors at Rogers Middle School, as well as the addition of security cameras and a control access system for entry in every building.
“While we move forward with the building projects approved with Prop N, it is important that our other schools, buildings, and grounds are not ignored,” said Brotherton. “In the coming year, the 3-cents from Prop I will help us create 21st Century learning spaces in classrooms at Affton High School, better allow for routine maintenance and repairs throughout the district, and help ensure the district’s financial stability.”
In addition, Phase II of expansion and renovations at Gotsch Intermediate School is currently in design and will begin immediately following the completion of Phase I in Spring 2018. Phase II will include: addition of four classrooms, a new art classroom, and a new music classroom in the existing gymnasium space, a new ADA-accessible building entry and security vestibule, relocation of administrative offices, updates to existing corridors, and renovation of the cafeteria. This phase is expected to be completed by Winter 2018.