First tax hike in 22 years passed in Pattonville School District

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Homeowners in the Pattonville School District approved Proposition P, which district officials said would help avoid teacher and program cuts.

This is the first tax increase for the school board in 22 years. The district said it was desperately needed. The measure passed overwhelmingly, by 70% in a St. Louis County special election on Tuesday. In August 2013, board members approved a request for a rate increase of $0.99 for commercial, agricultural and personal property and a residential tax-rate increase of $0.35.

Officials said they first saw trouble when property values started falling, choking off tax revenue for the school. They also said they tried to avoid any job and program cuts by not replacing positions left by staff who retired, closing Briar Crest Elementary School, and freezing teacher and administrator salaries.

On the district website, Superintendent Dr. Michael Fulton issued this statement:

“We thank the Pattonville community for supporting the tax increase… The passage of Prop P is an important step forward for our students and community.”

Homeowners with houses valued at $125,000 could see an increase of $6.85 a month or $82.80 a year. Officials said homeowners may still see smaller tax bills this year since some property values continue to fall.

Officials said without this increase, they would have to cut teacher jobs, restrict the purchase of new textbooks and start charging parents for extracurricular activities. They admitted those programs give kids a safe place to go in the afternoons, but could be unaffordable for many of the district’s families.

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