What is Proposition S?
Proposition S is a no-tax-rate increase $45 million bond issue on the ballot Aug. 2 to address mortar, brickwork and plaster issues; interior and exterior doors; water issues in educational spaces; accessibility improvements; replacement of aging boilers; roofs; tuckpointing and more throughout the school district. A major project for the bond issue would be building a new Moss Field stadium.Passage of the bond issue would not raise the district’s current debt service tax rate of 56.99 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
What is a no-tax-rate-increase bond issue?
A no-tax-rate-increase bond issue works much like a home equity loan, where a homeowner who pays down his or her debt can spend up to his or her credit limit again for new projects without paying more in his or her monthly loan payment.
How much will this cost me?
Passage of the bond issue would not increase the district’s current debt service tax rate. Property owners will continue to pay the current debt service tax rate of 56.99 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
How is the district able to raise $45 million without a tax rate increase?
The reasons include diligent work by the district to refinance bonds at lower interest rates and retire other bonds early, as well as an increase in assessed valuation, so that WGSD can now raise $45 million through this no-tax-rate increase bond issue to upgrade and improve its buildings and facilities.
Can the money be used in other ways?
No. Money from bond issues can only be used for capital expenditures such as major maintenance, repair and renovation costs. Bond funds can’t be used for operating expenses such as salaries, transportation costs, utilities and textbooks.
What is the district’s financial situation today?
The district’s financial situation is solid. Because of strong fiscal management and the implementation of numerous efficiency initiatives by the Board of Education and administration, funding resources are available for the important priorities covered in this bond issue, while maintaining the current tax rate.
Doesn’t this district’s overall tax rate rank near the top of school districts in St. Louis County?
No, the district tax rate ranks 14th out of 22 districts in St. Louis County.
How did the Board of Education decide to put this proposition on the ballot?
The board’s vote came after several months of study by two citizens committees, assessments by private companies, a series of open house discussions sponsored by the school district on the topic and a survey of building and facility needs. The Building Advisory Committee, made up of district citizens, provided the School Board with a list of priorities to address needs and the Finance Advisory Committee, also a citizens group, recommended that the best way to address the building and facility needs would be a bond issue.
You can see a presentation on these needs by clicking here.
What is the average age of a WGSD school?
The average age is 81 years old.
What are the priorities generally and for each building?
You can review the priorities presented to the School Board here https://www.webster.k12.mo.us/Page/24080.
Can you break down how the $45 million would be spent?
Facility Improvements to Support Learning $16,660,000
Exterior Doors & Windows $5,950,000
Interior Finishes $3,620,500
Exterior Lighting $1,190,000
Outdoor Accessibility $476,000
Pavement & Retaining Walls $2,380,000
Roofs, Gutters & Eaves $2,380,000
Safety & Security $4,893,530
What is planned for the Moss Field stadium?
The district plans to replace the current aging facility with a new stadium, concession stand, restrooms, a new track and more. Improvements to Moss Field will benefit all students at Hixson Middle School, district athletes and the community. Groups who use Moss include all physical education classes at Hixson, as well as High School teams such as girls lacrosse, track and field, football and field hockey. Girls on the Run, a boys lacrosse club, Webster Hockey, an area track club, Webster University, Nerinx Hall High School, Holy Redeemer track group, Special Olympics and others in the community also use this facility.
What is planned for the softball and baseball fields?
The softball and baseball teams will each play on Kopplin Field, which we plan to convert to synthetic turf. The field turf will extend beyond the softball/baseball playing area to allow multiple teams and physical education classes to utilize the fields throughout the entire school year, including, but not limited to, when the softball and baseball teams are practicing or competing on the main field. We also currently plan to add a limited number of parking spots to the north parking lot (near current softball field) to help address our parking issues at WGHS. The additional parking spots will help relieve traffic and parking in neighborhoods surrounding the high school during the school day.
Can you break out how the $16.6 million for Facility Improvements to Support Learning projects will be spent?
Edgar Rd Site work $ 77,000.00
Moss Field Renovation $ 10,660,000.00
Givens Site work $ 90,000.00
Kopplin Field $ 2,250,000.00
Knight Auditorium $ 1,513,000.00
South Addition $ 1,000,000.00
WGHS FACS $ 450,000.00
Hixson FACS $ 600,000.00
Hixson Gym Bleachers Modernization $20,000.00
Total $ 16,660,000.00
How do people who don’t have children in the schools benefit from passage of this bond issue?
This proposition provides an opportunity to improve our schools and benefit all students without increasing the tax rate. It would also benefit the entire community through strong property values linked directly to a strong school district.
How soon would bond issue projects be completed?
Everything would be completed over three to five years, with projects addressed according to priority and done in the most cost-efficient, least disruptive way possible.
Why are you putting this on the ballot in August?
The district decided to put the bond issue on the August ballot because the needs are critical and it will take several months to plan for the projects. In addition, interest rates may continue to rise.
What percentage of voter approval is required to pass this bond issue?
Bond issues require a little over 57 percent approval to pass.
What will happen if the proposition doesn’t pass?
If the proposition fails, the district will take steps to determine why and develop a plan for next steps.
Many of the items proposed are critical. Without the bond funding, the district would need to use general operating funds to address them. Some of the more expensive projects would have to be deferred indefinitely. Postponing needed repairs will mean they’ll be more costly when they do get addressed.
What if my question was not addressed in the FAQ?
District residents can submit questions on the Building and Facility Needs webpage here: https://www.webster.k12.mo.us/cms/module/selectsurvey/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=138
If the bond issue fails, would the district roll back its debt service tax rate?
Without a bond issue, the district would maintain the existing levy until the current outstanding bonds are fully repaid. Presently, the latest final maturity is 2039. The proposed bond issue would extend the levy by three years to 2042.