Prop S

Thank you voters! Prop S passed! Work has begun. View the June 2021 progress report.
 
Prop S: Safe Schools, Safe Kids


Proposition S Will Not Increase Tax Rate

Prop SThe Mehlville School District Board of Education voted unanimously at its Jan. 21, 2021, meeting to place a zero tax rate increase bond issue measure on the ballot on April 6, 2021. The bond issue, called Proposition S, would fund projects to improve student safety and accessibility and complete deferred maintenance without increasing the tax rate.

If passed, Prop S would fund security entrances at every school; improved accessibility for individuals with disabilities; heating, cooling and ventilation upgrades; restroom renovations and additions; parking lot improvements; roof replacements and other projects.

Prop S would generate $35 million to complete these projects without raising the current tax rate. Voter approval would allow the district to transfer 12 cents of the existing tax rate to address facility needs at all schools within Mehlville School District at no additional cost to the taxpayer.

What our community has told us
Beginning in January 2019, the Facility Steering Committee began work to identify necessary facilities work at each of our campuses. The committee included community members, and parents and staff representing each of our 19 schools. Together, the committee surveyed parents, students and staff and visited each school to see facility needs firsthand and to prioritize facility projects. The committee also heard reports about the known backlog of maintenance work on school roofs and HVAC systems. Through Facility Steering Committee feedback forms and through surveys related to our strategic plan, safety has emerged as the community’s top priority for its schools. In addition to safety, the Facility Steering Committee also heard that accessibility, restrooms and parking lots were a concern. The projects that will be funded by Prop S represent the most pressing facility needs as identified by the committee.

Passage of Proposition S would require approval by a four-sevenths majority, or 57.14 percent, in the April 6, 2021 election. If the bond issue does not pass, the 12 cents of the tax rate would remain in the district’s operating funds. Learn more about district financing in the Frequently Asked Questions section.


Projects by school
 
The project list was created through a collaborative process by the Facility Steering Committee, a dedicated group of parents, staff and community members from each of our schools. The committee recommended security entrances at each school. These entrances would include an exterior and interior door. Visitors are admitted through the exterior door and must check in with a staff member immediately upon entry before gaining access through an interior to the rest of the school. Additional projects are listed by school below.

Beasley Elementary (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Additional restrooms
Restroom renovations
Outdoor lighting
Driveway widening and expanded parking
HVAC replacement

Bierbaum Elementary (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Additional classrooms
Expanded, ADA-accessible library and storm shelter
ADA accessibility to two classrooms near office
Restroom renovations
Outdoor lighting
Improved, expanded front parking lot 
Additional perimeter fencing to prevent trespassing during school hours 

Blades Elementary (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Outdoor lighting

Forder Elementary (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Outdoor lighting
HVAC replacement

Hagemann Elementary (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
ADA access to playground
Additional parking lot entrance for improved traffic flow

MOSAIC Elementary (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Elevators

Oakville Elementary (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Expanded parking with additional accessible parking

Point Elementary (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Provide ADA accessibility to back exit door

Rogers Elementary (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Parking lot and playground safety improvements
HVAC replacement

Trautwein Elementary (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Parking lot improvements, including expanded drive and additional parking
Outdoor lighting
Roof replacement (82 squares)

Wohlwend Elementary (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
ADA accessibility to art and music rooms
Additional ADA-accessible parking
Outdoor lighting

Bernard Middle (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Outdoor lighting

Buerkle Middle (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Restroom additions and renovations
Renovate entrance of track to improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities
Roof replacement (463 squares)
Outdoor lighting

Oakville Middle (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Outdoor lighting

Washington Middle (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Renovate main entrance to improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities
Outdoor lighting
Roof replacement (472 squares)

Mehlville High School (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Provide ADA accessibility to band room
New restrooms at stadium
Improved parking lot walkways and additional ADA parking
Baseball and softball field safety upgrades
HVAC replacement

Oakville High School (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
Provide ADA access to gymnasium
New stadium restrooms
Restroom renovations throughout school
Baseball and softball field safety upgrade
Roof replacement (662 squares)

John Cary Early Childhood Center (see conceptual rendering*)
Security entrance
HVAC replacement

District Facilities (see conceptual rendering*)
Raze transportation office trailers and garage
Build a 15,000-square-foot transportation garage and office building

*A conceptual rendering is an illustration of what a completed project might look like. Final construction is subject to change based on each project’s engineering and structural analysis. 



Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this being proposed?

Our community repeatedly tells us that their top priority is student safety. Our schools were not built with secure entrances. In many of our buildings, the main office is not adjacent to the front door. This means that visitors can gain access to our students without first checking in with an adult in the office. By constructing security entry vestibules and moving the main offices, we can ensure all visitors are appropriately screened by a school employee before accessing students and classrooms.

Additionally, our buildings require ongoing maintenance, repair and renovation just like our homes. However, years of deferred maintenance have created a backlog of projects and facilities in disrepair. A bond issue allows us to make an investment in our facilities on a cyclical basis. This year, Mehlville School District can make repairs and renovations through the passage of Prop S without raising the total tax levy for district residents.

How were these projects selected?
In January 2019, the Facility Steering Committee began work to identify necessary facilities work at each of our campuses. The committee included community members, and parents and staff representing each of our 19 schools. Together, the committee surveyed parents, students and staff and visited each school in order to see priority needs firsthand and to prioritize those needs. The projects that will be funded by Prop S represent the most pressing needs as identified by the committee.

What is a bond issue?
A bond issue is the traditional way schools borrow money to pay for major school maintenance and repair projects, such as renovations to improve safety and accessibility, replacing HVAC units, adding classroom space, replacing bathrooms, and making other upgrades to worn-out areas.

How do schools use bond issues to benefit students?
Bonds allow schools to pay for costly repairs and renovation over time instead of having to pay all at once. They also allow schools to devote most of their day-to-day operating budgets to student instruction and support instead of major repair work. All St. Louis County school districts have passed at least one bond issue to make facility improvements since 2001 -- except for Mehlville School District.

How can we complete these projects without raising the tax rate?
Each year, Mehlville School District pays off debt from Certificates of Participation (COP, sometimes called a lease), another type of loan for school facilities. Because of responsible financial management, we will soon pay off all of our COP debt. As a result, about 45 cents of the total tax levy will be freed up for our operating budget. We are asking voters to transfer 12 cents of our operating tax rate into our debt services budget to pay the interest and principal on a $35 million bond for facilities improvements.

Prop S


What would happen if Prop S does not pass?
Some maintenance and repair work would continue to be deferred and most school renovation projects would be postponed indefinitely. It will cost more in the future to address the needs that exist today. The most critical maintenance and repair needs would still be addressed. To pay for critical maintenance and repairs, more money would have to be spent from the day-to-day operating budget (the portion of the budget that normally pays for classroom instruction, teachers, staff, student supports and supplies).

Prop S addresses overcrowding issues at Bierbaum Elementary School by funding the addition of classrooms. If Prop S does not pass, Mehlville School District will likely need to redistrict, or redraw elementary school boundary lines, in the near future.

If Prop S does not pass, the 12 cents of the tax rate will remain in the operating budget, generating about $2.4 million a year.

How does a bond issue work?
When voters approve a bond issue, Mehlville School District sells bonds and uses the funds generated to complete the capital projects. Bond debt is paid back over time. This process is similar to a home loan. When you purchase a home, you borrow money at a specific interest rate. You make payments on that loan, which include principal and interest, over a period of years. A certain amount of your regular income is budgeted to make those payments. The district can choose to refinance the bonds during the payback period if interest rates make it financially beneficial.

Can the funds be used in any other way?
No. Money from bond issues can only be used for capital expenses, such as major maintenance, repairs and renovations, and equipment. Bond funds cannot be used for operating expenses such as salaries, benefits, transportation costs, utilities, textbooks or other supplies.

How will residents in our community who don’t have students in Mehlville School District benefit from passing this zero tax rate increase bond issue?
The school district in each community is an important part of maintaining high property values. High-quality schools are one of the key components people look for when moving into a new community, and studies have confirmed the link between strong school districts and strong communities. A strong public school system protects property values, provides a qualified workforce and creates a better sense of community. 

How many votes are required for passage of Prop S?
Passage of Prop S requires 57.14% (4/7) yes vote – not just a simple majority.

How will we know that funds generated from Prop S will be spent as promised?
Mehlville School District staff will provide regular reports to the Board of Education on Prop S projects completed. Those reports will be available on the district’s website. The Board of Education’s Finance Committee is charged with the oversight of any bond issue measure.


Voter Information

When is the election?
Tuesday, April 6, 2021. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Learn more about voting in this election.

Who may vote?
Any Mehlville School District resident, 18 years or older by April 6, who has registered to vote in the Mehlville School District by March 10 may vote in this election.

How do I register to vote?
Parents and other residents are encouraged to learn more about Prop S and to vote. If you aren’t already registered to vote, the deadline to register is Wednesday, March 10, 2021. The Missouri Secretary of State’s website has several options to register to vote: 
- Print and mail your application
- Register in person
- Request an application be mailed to you

Who can vote?
To register to vote in Missouri, you must be:
- At least 17 ½ years of age (but you must be 18 by the day of the election to vote)
- A U.S. Citizen
- A Missouri Resident

Where can I vote?
Just prior to the election, each registered voter receives a postcard from the Board of Elections office designating the polling place for the voter.

Can I vote absentee?
Absentee voting for those who qualify begins Feb. 23, 2021. Learn more about absentee voting, including how to request an absentee ballot.

How will Prop S appear on the ballot?
Shall the Board of Education of the Mehlville R-9 School District, St. Louis County, Missouri borrow money in the amount of $35,000,000 for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, renovating, expanding, improving, furnishing, and equipping school sites, buildings, and related facilities, including roof, HVAC, security, and parking improvements recommended by the Facilities Steering Committee of the District and issue general obligation bonds for the payment thereof?

If this proposition is approved, the total levy of the school district is expected to remain unchanged due to an anticipated, voluntary decrease in the operating levy of the school district that is expected to offset the estimated increase to the debt service levy of the school district, which debt service levy is estimated to increase from $0.00 to $0.12 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation of real and personal property.  

Who can I talk to about Prop S?

If you have additional questions about Prop S, please call 314-467-5000 or email messenger@msdr9.org.

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