Please see our FAQs for in-depth information about these topics.
Our taxes are already in the lowest quartile in the county. The Hancock Amendment, which is state law in Missouri, limits the amount of tax revenue schools can collect as property values rise. The last 3 out of 4 reassessment years saw zero increase in taxes for our schools. 2015 saw a mere 0.8% increase, due to inflation. Meanwhile, enrollment continues to grow and costs increase.
Reassessment– Our schools will not benefit from residential property tax increases. No matter how much reassessment increases, our schools will only receive 2.1% increase in revenue this year because of a state regulation. Cuts in state, federal and tuition funding will offset this small increase. If Prop K doesn’t pass, our schools will have a significant revenue shortfall and additional cuts will need to be made.
Tax Revenue– Total revenue has only increased by 8% in the last 10 years. There is a group spreading misinformation about our school district’s revenue. This group is misleading voters by using numbers from eleven years ago, which includes an increase in a tax levy passed in 2005. When a bond levy is passed the funds come in during the first year or two to be distributed over time. If you go to the very next year 2007-08 and compare it to this year – which is the financially accurate way to calculate our revenue – it is 8%, yet inflation has gone up in our state by 18% and total enrollment by 15%.
Enrollment has increased by 1000 resident children in 10 years and the budget has not expanded to meet that need. We do not have the money in the budget to educate the children that are currently enrolled. Regardless of projected enrollment (which is expected to increase) the district needs money to fund current students.
Kirkwood School District (KSD) does not have other options for funding operating expenses.
- Health insurance for teachers: All other school districts in St. Louis county cover health care premiums for teachers. Departing from this St. Louis area industry standard would make our district less attractive to highly qualified teachers.
- Teachers’ kids: There is only one other district in St. Louis county that does not allow teachers’ children to attend in the district in which they teach. The board will review this policy when all other policies are reviewed in April/May.
- Budget committee: The district is planning to reinstate the budget committee for the 2017-2018 school year.
- Budget categories: By law the technology and maintenance funds are separate from the operating budget. These funds cannot be redirected. See below.
- Our tax rate is in the lowest quartile for the county.
It would require a change in the law to alter the way the KSD budget is structured. District buildings are on average 71 years old requiring substantial maintenance. The maintenance fund allows the district to be proactive about building repairs saving money over time. The technology fund ensures classrooms and students have access to technology to support learning.
This property is green space with no planned construction. It is paid for, requires very little upkeep, no taxes are paid on it and it gives student access to outdoor education. Selling the land would only provide short-term, one-time, partial funding. Any tax revenue received from potential housing developments on this land would not cover the additional cost of educating children likely to move into new homes. Last year a house on Dougherty Ferry was traded for one we already owned. The trade provided better access to the Lindeman property. The financially responsible thing for the District to do is hold onto the property in case a new school is needed in the future.
Teacher pay: We believe teaching is a professional career. A district that pays well attracts and retains highly qualified teachers. Students have better outcomes with excellent teachers. We value high-quality teachers for our children -86% have a masters degree or higher and an average of 14 years of experience. Teachers are the most important investment in a child’s education. Kirkwood residents are getting a great value for their investment. The District’s per pupil expenditure, which is calculated for all school districts by the state, is below the county average at $12,071. The KSD pay scale reflects industry standards.
Administrator pay: KSD runs lean on administrators in our schools – the state average is 1 admin for every 188 students – Kirkwood has 1 admin for every 240 students. KSD spends less per student than the county average – yet we get better academic results. Our current superintendent is retiring effective at the end of the school year
Salary Schedule – KSD aims to attract the highest quality teachers and compensate them accordingly. The way our pay structure is organized reflects industry standard. Teacher quality is defined by education and experience. 86% of KSD teachers have a master’s degree or higher and 15 years or more of experience.
MAP scores are just one example of the effectiveness of our teachers. ACT scores have remained stable even though all students are now included in the measurement rather than a select group. We must restore recent cuts in order to maintain this level of achievement.
We are asking seniors to help the children in our community. Investing in local schools benefits seniors through increased property values and a strong community.