Aug., 5th Elections: Tax Levy on Ballot in Ferguson Florissant District
F-F School District Seeks 50-Cent Tax Levy on Aug. 5
Mayor, Chamber and Key Businesspersons Supporting levy In the upcoming Aug. 5th elections, the Ferguson-Florissant School District will ask voters to approve Proposition S. Prop S is an overall tax rate increase of 50 cents per $100 of property’s assessed value that will be used to maintain and protect programs, services and staffing in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. The district serves more than 11,000 students from the communities of Florissant, Ferguson, Berkeley and several other North County municipalities. Fully accredited by the state of Missouri, the Ferguson-Florissant School District operates 17 elementary schools, three middle schools, three high schools and an alternative school. In addition, the district includes a nationally-recognized early education program, the award-winning Challenger Learning Center space education facility and the Little Creek Nature Area, a 97-acre nature preserve located in Florissant which offers experiential learning opportunities for students in science, biology, ecology and related areas of study. According to district officials, Ferguson-Florissant faces unprecedented challenges with declines in assessed property valuations and reduced state funding, which together have had a devastating impact on its finances. As a result, the district has been tapping its financial reserves in recent years to meet expenses. The district has already cut $4.7 million from its budget — eliminating new textbook purchases, slashing funding for afterschool activities, athletics and fine arts programs, eliminating preschool and after-school transportation services and reducing summer school and teacher tuition reimbursement. If no additional funding is received, Ferguson-Florissant will face more cuts and further reductions in its reserves. At the end of any school year, the state requires school districts to have a minimum of three percent of its expenditures in reserve. Along with other criteria, having at least three percent of expenditures in reserves enables a district to stay off of the state’s list of financially stressed school districts. Ferguson-Florissant is projected to have a 10.45 percent fund balance for the 2014-2015 school year, a 6.9 percent fund balance for the 2015-2016 school year, and a negative 1.3 percent fund balance in the 2016-2017 school year if no additional funding is received. If approved, the cost of the 50-cent increase on the average home in the district valued at $74,000 would be $5.86 per month, or $70.30 per year. The last time the FFSD received a tax increase was in 1992 —22 years ago. Last August, the district sought a 75-cent levy increase and the proposal fell short of the simple majority needed, getting 42 percent majority. Endorsements for the levy have been received by: Mayor Tom Schneider: “The vitality of the Ferguson Florissant School District is essential to the progress of not only the City of Florissant but of our important area of St. Louis County.” Johnny Londoff Jr.: “My family moved our Chevrolet dealership to Florissant in 1960…Education has always been important to my family. My dad understood early on that investing in the education of our children was the key to a successful and prosperous future The Greater North County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recognizes that quality schools are important to the business community and to the community as a whole. The Board believes that passage of Prop S is necessary for the District.
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