Prop A Fact Sheet
What is Proposition A?
- Proposition A is an operating tax rate increase of 39 cents for each $100 of assessed value that will be used to maintain and protect Ritenour’s current instructional programs and staffing levels, prevent deficit spending, expand the use of technology at all grade levels, provide more opportunities for students to earn college credit before they graduate, increase career training programs for non-college bound students and support the general operation of the District.
Why do we need Prop A?
- Prop A is a proposal designed to provide long-term financial stability for the Ritenour School District by balancing the budget, avoiding cuts in staff and programs, maintaining the ability to pay teachers a competitive salary, and enabling the district to continue maintaining its facilities with up-to-date educational spaces.
- Ritenour has a long history of providing the best opportunities for its students. The district continues to be committed to that tradition. Far more than ever before, continuing that tradition requires continuous upgrades in technology and effective learning spaces, from early childhood through high school, to prepare Ritenour students for success in today’s world and for the future they will face.
- Voter approval of Prop A will enable Ritenour to maintain and protect the quality of programs and staffing in the district, ensure our students are prepared for college and careers, prevent deficit spending and secure property values for district residents.
How much will it cost?
- If approved by voters, this would mean the owner of an $80,000 home would pay an additional $59 in Ritenour taxes each year – less than $5 each month.
When was the last time Ritenour asked voters to increase taxes?
- Ritenour has not asked the community for an operating tax increase since 2005 when voters approved an 18 cent tax transfer from debt service. It only has asked voters to increase the operating tax rate four times in the past 35 years (1982, 1987, 1998 and 2005).
- Many school districts have been forced to reduce staff, cut programs and raise class sizes. While these actions have been taking place in other districts, Ritenour has continued to maximize our resources and make fiscally-responsible decisions.
- The district has been deficit spending three out of the past five years. At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, the district projects to have a fund balance of about 23 percent of expenditures, down from about 28 percent the year prior. If fund balances fall too low, the district will be unable to meet its financial obligations without having to borrow money to meet payroll and expenses.
Can Ritenour cut its budget to prevent the need for a tax increase?
- For more than a decade, Ritenour has budgeted with efficiency in mind, reducing staff and reorganizing programs or positions whenever possible. The district strives to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars and has demonstrated a high level of fiscal responsibility. Using this practice, the district has streamlined costs by reducing non-instructional operating costs to maximize dollars for the classroom. The district has held expenditures flat for the past three years and has reduced administrative staff, eliminated positions and reduced budgets for supplies and equipment.
- Ritenour has faced relatively flat revenue since 2010. Three factors contribute to the need for more funding: declining property values, reductions in state funding and continued tax appeals by property owners. The Board had considered a higher amount, but rising property values in the district enabled the district to propose this lower and more conservative amount.
- Despite the district’s proactive planning and budget forecasting, the recent economic downturn endured for longer than anticipated, and it is no longer possible to cut Ritenour’s budget without significantly impacting existing programs and services for students that the community has come to expect.
How many votes are required for passage of Prop A?
- Passage of Prop A requires a simple majority yes vote of more than 50 percent.
When is the election?
- The election takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.
What is the ballot language?
Ritenour School District Proposition A
November 7, 2017
For the purpose of attracting and retaining quality teachers and staff, protecting programs and class sizes, eliminating deficit spending, expanding the use of technology at all grade levels, providing more opportunities for students to earn college credit before they graduate and increasing career training programs for non-college bound students and support the general operation of the District, shall the Board of Education of the Ritenour School District, St. Louis County, Missouri be authorized to increase the operating tax levy ceiling of the District by $0.39 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 $5.0800 for residential real property, $5.3265 for commercial real property and $4.3991 for personal property.