On November 8, residents of the Affton School District will vote on Proposition I and Proposition 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.
This document provides answers to some commonly asked questions about the proposal and how it would affect local residents. If you have any additional questions, you may submit that question for a response by email by clicking here.
Click here for a printable version of this document.
Q: What is Proposition I and Proposition N, and what will they accomplish?
A: Proposition I is a $0.38 tax levy and Proposition N is a $25 million bond proposal developed through the efforts of area residents and unanimously approved by the Board of Education. The additional revenue generated by these proposals will lead to District-wide improvements at every one of the District’s schools. In addition, Proposition I and Proposition N will help the District:
- Retain current number of teachers
- Protect programs and class sizes
- Eliminate deficit spending
- Protect transportation to and from school
- Secure property values for district residents
- Renovate classrooms to 21st Century standards throughout the District
- Improve safety and security in every building throughout the District
- Develop and implement Capital Improvement Plan renovations at Gotsch Intermediate, including: Secure entry, new gymnasium and 8 new classrooms, ADA improvements, cafeteria renovation
- Develop and implement Capital Improvement Plan renovations at Rogers Middle School, including: Secure entry, 2 new classrooms, ADA improvements
- Develop and implement Capital Improvement Plan renovations at Affton High School, including locker room restoration and renovation
- Refinance leasehold obligations
Q: How was the plan developed?
A: The plan that voters will consider was developed by All In For Affton, a citizens group made up of businessmen and women, teachers, staff, parents, and other residents interested in the committee. In addition to the participants’ own input, the Committee consulted architects, engineers, and individuals knowledgeable about demographics, school technology needs and school funding for additional information to help in its work. Participants also studied the results of a benchmark public opinion survey that helped them better understand the priorities of the community at large.
Proposition I takes into consideration the feedback gathered from community engagement and survey data, as well as the current financial reality and future outlook of the community and the District.
Proposition N incorporates the recommendations of the District’s Buildings and Grounds Committee following a year-long audit of all District facilities in 2013-2014. The Committee toured each facility with professional architects and engineers and then developed a prioritized Capital Improvement Plan. In all, more than 150 community members provided input and helped shape the final plan.
This study concluded that District school buildings need repairs, renovation and expansion. As noted above, these improvements covered a wide range of priorities, including safety upgrades, accessibility improvements, communications and technology updates, and maintenance and upkeep of the District’s many school buildings.
Q: What has the District done to cut costs?
A: Affton School District has aggressively reduced non-instructional operating costs to maximize dollars for the classroom. Since 2014, the District has cut $2 million from its operating costs with the goal of making cuts as far away from our classroom teachers as possible. This includes reducing administrative staff, eliminating instructional support positions, and reducing budgets for supplies and equipment.
Q: What will Props I & N cost the average taxpayer?
A: These proposals would cost the median home owner of a $139,000 house approximately $4.42 per week. That’s about $19.15 per month. With a $200,000 house, the cost of these propositions is only $0.90 a day — that’s less than the cost of a daily newspaper. In addition, property taxes are deductible on income tax returns. For most homeowners, then, the actual daily cost could be even less.
The following chart illustrates the impact these propositions would have on property tax bills:
Home Value Annual Cost Monthly Cost Weekly Cost Daily Cost
$100,000 $165.30 $13.77 $3.18 $0.45
$139,000 $229.77 $19.15 $4.42 $0.63
$200,000 $330.60 $27.55 $6.36 $0.90
Q: When was the last time the District passed a tax levy or bond proposal?
A: Voters last approved a tax levy 12 years ago, which was the last time the District has asked taxpayers for a tax levy or bond issue. In 2004, Proposition 1 allowed the district to improve staff salaries, eliminate deficit spending and maintain the District’s buildings. With the increase provided by Prop 1, it was projected that the District could remain fiscally sound through the 2008-2009 school year. Through careful planning and strategic data-driven decisions, Affton School District has been able to extend that projection for an additional 8 years.
Q: What happens if the Propositions do not pass?
A: If Proposition I and Proposition N do not pass, the District will need to look at additional cost saving measures, which could include:
- Reducing additional positions, resulting in fewer teachers, support staff and administrators and higher class sizes;
- Cutting valuable student programs;
- Cutting math and reading assistance for students;
- Eliminating transportation less than three miles from school (the state minimum);
- Charging fees for students to participate in sports and after-school activities, which could increase parents’ annual out-of-pocket expenses;
- Eliminating building improvements and reducing maintenance efforts; and
- Cutting an additional $500,000 from the budget in 2017-2018 and another $1 million in 2018-2019.
Q: When is the election?
A: Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Proposition I requires a simple majority (50.0% to pass), and Proposition N requires a 4/7 majority (57.1% to pass). In an election, EVERY SINGLE VOTE IS IMPORTANT. That’s why it is crucial that you remember to vote on that day and remind all of your friends and family to do the same. If you are not registered to vote, the deadline to do so is October 12th.
Q: Who is eligible to vote?
A: All registered voters in the Affton School District are eligible to vote in this election. Local residents may also request absentee ballots by contacting the St. Louis County Board of Elections at 314-615-1933 or visit their website for additional information at http://www.stlouisco.com/yourgovernment/elections/absenteevoting, and the deadline for doing so is November 2nd by 5 p.m.
Q: Where do I go to vote on November 8?
A: When you receive your voter registration card, it will indicate your polling place. You may also visit the Statewide Voter Database to find your polling place: https://s1.sos.mo.gov/elections/voterlookup/
Q: How will the proposals appear on the ballot?
A: By law, Proposition I and Proposition N must appear on the ballot in the following form:
For the purpose of attracting and retaining quality teachers and staff, protecting programs and class sizes, and eliminating deficit spending, shall the Board of Education of the Affton 101 School District, St. Louis County, Missouri be authorized to increase the operating tax levy ceiling of the District by $0.38 per $100 of assessed valuation? If this proposition is approved, the adjusted operating levy of the District per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation is estimated to be $5.7480 for residential real property, $5.9972 for commercial real property and $5.8931 for personal property.
For the purpose of (a) acquiring, constructing, improving, renovating, repairing, furnishing and equipping school sites, buildings and related facilities for school purposes, including safety and security upgrades and classroom renovations and (b) refinancing leasehold obligations, shall the Affton 101 School District, St. Louis County, Missouri issue its general obligation bonds in the amount of $25,000,000? If this proposition is approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the school district is estimated to increase $0.49 per $100 of assessed valuation of real and personal property from $0.00 to $0.49 per $100 of assessed valuation of real and personal property.
Q: What is a tax levy increase?
A: An operating tax levy is a levy for learning. It helps fund day-to-day operations within our schools, which may include teachers, classroom supplies, paraprofessional classroom support, science kits and other instructional materials, utility bills, building custodians, and central office functions such as staff development, assessment, payroll, and student registration. The levy is the tax rate used to calculate the amount of property tax revenue the school district will receive. The rate is used in conjunction with the assessed value of property. For every $100 dollars of assessed value the District receives the amount of the levy.
Q: What is a bond issue?
A: Simply put, a bond is much like a personal home loan, and is a way for government entities, such as school districts, to borrow money for large projects and repay them with future tax proceeds. An individual generally approaches a financial institution for a mortgage because they don’t have the means to pay for their home with one large initial payment. Affton School District doesn’t have the ability to pay for $25 million worth of projects either, so it approaches voters asking them to consider a proposed bond by holding what is known as a “bond election.”
Q: Can the money be spent on anything but the projects listed?
A: Additional revenue generated from Proposition I would be added to the District’s general operating fund to ensure that the District is able 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.
Proposition N bond issue money can be used only for the facility improvements listed by the District. Bond issue money cannot be used for day-to-day operational expenses like salaries and supplies.
Q: Why should we do this work now and not wait until later?
A: Just as homeowners must sometimes spend money to maintain their homes, the District must occasionally spend money to protect the investment that the community has made in its schools and neighborhoods. While we’ve worked hard to maintain our buildings and grounds, over time, things wear out and need repair or replacing. Similarly, we have extended the life of Prop 1 passed in 2004, which was intended to ensure that the District was financially sound through 2008-2009, but limited state funding and decreasing assessed valuation of homes and businesses in the community have negatively impacted the budget.
By addressing these challenges now, it will save money in the long run and ensure that teachers and students have an environment conducive to innovative teaching and learning, developing students as responsible citizens prepared for the challenges of a global society. It took time and hard work to make Affton School District one of the best in all of St. Louis County. We can’t sacrifice the quality of schools that we have achieved.
Q: Beyond improving our schools, how will these proposals help the communities that make up the Affton School District?
A: These proposals can help make sure that the communities located within the District continue to prosper well into the 21st Century. How? Improving the school district helps to keep neighborhoods strong and keeps property values up. Numerous studies have found a strong correlation between quality schools and property values.