A Look at Prop A 75-cent levy proposal in Ferguson-Florissant District
Voters Consider Tax
Levy on Aug. 6th Ballot
By Nichole Richardson
On Tuesday, August 6, the Ferguson-Florissant School District will ask voters to pass a 75-cent tax levy that will enable the district to maintain its programs and services to the community. It has been more than 21 years since the District last asked for a tax increase.
The levy has much support from community leaders and
organizations, including Mayor Tom Schneider of Florissant, North County, Inc., Greater North County Chamber of Commerce, North County Churches Uniting for Racial Harmony and Justice, and North County Labor.
Known as Proposition A, this levy proposes a 75-cent tax increase per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation on residential and commercial real estate property and on personal property. A home valued at $100,000 would have a tax increase of approximately $11.86 per month. The district contends the levy is needed to replace money that has been lost due to Boeing’s assessment challenge, decreased state and local funding, increasing health care costs, and declining assessed valuations for residential and commercial property that stems from the recent tornados and the general economic slowdown.
A community survey was conducted by Patron Insight,
which asked voters for their opinions on a range of topics, including public perceptions and district performance. Responses indicated community concerns that could be served by this levy.
Proposition A proceeds are expected to generate $6.4
million and will be used to fund teaching materials and technology, transportation, athletics and student activities, as well as retain early childhood and Parents As Teachers (PAT) programs, staff salaries, and positions.
“The community needs to recognize that this education
entity– the Ferguson-Florissant School District–is an
essential key element in the success of our footprint. The rebirth in residential property values is going to be challenged if the District is compromised,” explained Mayor Schneider.
Many local business leaders believe this proposition is needed to ensure economic growth within the community and surrounding areas. Car dealership owner, Johnny Londoff ,Jr. said, “I was born and raised in North County and for a community that’s given so much to me, I do everything in my power to keep up the growth of this community. “
According to Mayor Schneider, “the economic engine that we have on the North Lindbergh corridor is very healthy. If the people want to keep their own property values up [they must understand] if the school district declines, their investment in the community will decline.”
Despite commercial economic growth, the district has already had to cut expenses within the school system. There were salary freezes in 2010-2011 and again in 2012-2013. A 50-member budget task force was convened in 2012 and slashed $800,000 from the 2012-2013 budget and an additional $5 million from the 2013-2014 budget, but it is not enough to offset pending losses.
If Proposition A is not passed, one of the biggest cuts will most likely occur within the Early Childhood education programs . These services are funded by a variety of sources, including the decreasing federal, state, and local revenues. The salaries for the Early Childhood teachers are paid by the district. Ferguson-Florissant Superintendent Art McCoy said, “there is not a per-pupil allocation of funds from the state for early childhood programs. Prop A funds are vitally important for the strength of all early education programs.”
Marilyn Geiger, a LINK program teacher and coordinator, also feels strongly that it is imperative for this proposition to be passed. “In order to keep our schools strong and continue to provide these early education programs from birth up for our families, we need this to pass,” said Geiger.
Although there is a lot support for passing Prop A, it isn’t without adversaries. Opponents argue that those without children in the school system, those paying for private school, and others such as the elderly or people on fixed incomes should not be required to support this tax increase. Some worry that the money has just been mismanaged and seem unsure of where the money will go, but don’t want to be quoted in the media on their opposition to the levy.
Shannan Logsdon, another resident opposed to the levy, asks why she should have to pay more than she already does with no vested interests. “I don’t have kids. I don’t have a lot of money either ,and I think my taxes are high enough as is,” said Logsdon.
For more information regarding how Ferguson-Florissant District money has and will be spent, refer to the district’s Board Report Newsletter, which is posted monthly at fergflor.org or call 506-9037 to request a copy be mailed to you.
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