Metro East turns down school funding tax increase; 2 St. Louis County bonding measures approved | St. Louis Public Radio

Metro East turns down school funding tax increase; 2 St. Louis County bonding measures approved

Apr 4, 2017

School districts across the St. Louis region sought more money from taxpayers in Tuesday’s election. Also, there were three seats up for grabs for the St. Louis Public Schools’ elected school board., though the state still has oversight.

Here’s the breakdown of what passed and what didn’t:

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Metro East voters reject 1 percent sales tax for schools

Metro East schools will not see millions more after voters turned down a 1 percent sales tax.

The ballot measures failed by .6 percent in Madison County and about 13 percent in St. Clair County. The money — an estimated $23 million a year in Madison County and $20 million a year in St. Clair County — would have gone to facilities, not salaries.

Alton’s superintendent had called it a “fair-share tax,” because it doesn’t affect just homeowners. But opponents had argued there’s no promise that officials won’t try a bonding issue next.

Monroe loses seat on St. Louis school board

 Bill Monroe failed to win re-election to the St. Louis Public Schools board, which is notable because some officials said if he had remained on the board he could have prevented the district from regaining control from the state.

Among the seven candidates in the running, St. Louis voters chose Susan Jones, Dorothy Collins and Natalie Vowell.

The vice president of the Missouri Board of Education, Vic Lenz, had said talks between state officials and SLPS board members were put on hold until after the election because Monroe had become disruptive during two meetings that originally were not open to the public.

Monroe has said that meetings should be done in public and talks to regain local control should resume “immediately.”

Kirkwood voters approve smaller property tax increase for schools

About a year after a school funding measure failed, Kirkwood voters gave the go-ahead to a property tax increase.

 

The difference between this year’s request for a 46-cent levy and the one in 2015 was 32 cents per $100 of a home’s value. The measure passed 57.96 percent to 42.04 percent.

Since the 2015 vote, Kirkwood cut more than $5 million from its budget, including laying off 52 staffers and instituting a pay freeze. Officials say the property tax increase will go toward restoring those reductions.

Opponents of the measure said the district should sell off a tract of land and make teachers pay more for their health care.

Normandy OKs $23M bond issue

The unaccredited Normandy School District received permission from voters to take out a $23 million bond for a new middle school and science and technology labs.

The measure, which passed 3,359-1,527, was critical for the north St. Louis County district to remain competitive, Superintendent Charles Pearson said, because parents can choose to send students elsewhere on Normandy’s dime.