Proposition E: FAQ
Will my property taxes go up under Proposition E?
No. The current debt service levy is sufficient and will not need to be increased if Prop E is passed.
Does this mean we can hire more teachers?
The money from bond issues can only be used for capital projects such as constructing and renovating and furnishing buildings.
How are my property taxes calculated?
Appraised value x 19% = Assessed Value
Assessed value x tax rate / 100
Example: $200,000 home
appraised value of $200,000 x .19 = assessed value $38,000
$38,000 x $1.35 / 100 = $513
Enrollment and Class Sizes
What are the enrollment figures for MRH over the past 15 years?
In 2005, the K-12 population was 971. At the end of last school year, the population was 1,438, a 48% increase. In the middle and high schools, the increases for that time period are 47% and 24%, respectively.
The following chart tracks those figures by grade-level, with the addition of the Pre-K population:
|Early Childhood Center (Preschool)||Early Childhood Center (grades K-1)||Elementary (grades 2-6)||Middle School (grades 7-8)||High School (grades 9-12)||District (Pre-K-12 Total)|
How does a bond issue work?
Bond issues allow school districts to pay for costly repairs and renovation over time instead of incurring the costs all at once. They also allow districts to devote most of their day-to-day operating budgets to classroom instruction instead of major repair work. When voters approve a bond issue, the MRH District will obtain bids and sell bonds to the purchaser who offers the lowest interest rate. The District uses the funds to complete capital projects and pays back the debt over time. This process is similar to a home loan. When you purchase a home, you borrow money at a specific interest rate. Payments are made on that loan, which include principal and interest. As such, a budget is created to ensure payments are allocated and paid.
How does the district pay the debt from a bond issue without increasing taxes?
A bond issue raises money that, by law, can be used only for capital expenditures such as building construction and/or renovations. A district sells bonds to investors, uses that money for capital projects, and then pays it back to investors over a specific time, usually 20 years. A debt service levy, separate from the operating tax levy, generates the funds necessary to make annual principal and interest payments on the outstanding debt. An operating tax levy increases the amount a district can collect from property taxes, and the adjusted operating levy generates money to pay a district’s operating costs, like salaries and benefits, textbooks, utilities, etc.
MRH's fund balance -- why it is important:
A school district’s fund balance is the amount of money that is left in the bank at the end of a fiscal year. School districts throughout Missouri are recommended to carry fund balances 15 to 40% of their annual budgets. A district’s fund balance serves two main purposes:
- To ensure adequate cash flow for operations throughout the fiscal year
- To offset expenditures in years when a district is deficit spending
School district finance follows a cyclical pattern. A school district builds its fund balance in the years when revenues exceed expenditures, usually following a voter-approved tax increase or a revenue increase from other sources. Districts then spend down their fund balance once operating expenses begin to exceed operating revenues by engaging in deficit spending. When a district’s fund balance falls below its required minimum, it must either reduce its expenditures, increase its revenues or a combination of both. A district that falls below a 3% fund balance is labeled "financially distressed" by the State Board of Education and risks being taken over by the State of Missouri.
Actual voter question: "I have read a little about Prop E, but I do not understand how the bonds will be serviced. Is there money in the operating budget to make interest payments?"
The debt service fund is solely for the purposes of retiring bonded indebtedness and is completely separate from the operating fund.The debt service fund is funded via the debt service levy and does not receive funds from the operating fund. The amount to be levied is set each year, by the district, and is based on the amounts required to make the principal and interest payments on our existing debt. The amount that is currently being levied for debt service is $1.35/$100 of assessed valuation. That amount is sufficient to pay the additional principal and interest payments on $30 million in bonds (pending voter approval), hence the $0 increase to the debt service levy. Regarding the health of the debt service fund, since it is funded through its own levy, there is no danger of it falling to unacceptable levels. The only reason the levy would need to increase beyond the current $1.35 is if the assessed valuation of the area were to drop severely. However, our calculations indicate that the assessed valuation would need to decline far below any historical amount that we have seen in the past 15 or so years. Therefore, we are confident the existing debt service levy will remain sufficient as we assume this new debt.
What percentage of voter approval is required to pass a bond issue?
While tax levies only require a simple majority (50 percent plus one vote) to pass, a bond issue requires approval by 4/7ths of voters or a little more than 57 percent.
When was the last operating tax levy passed by MRH district voters?
The last operating tax levy was passed in 2016.
Brick & Mortar: The Construction Process
What are the major renovations planned?
For the High School and the Middle School campus, additional classrooms, cafeteria expansion, as well as extending the gymnasium are in the plans. Also, the infrastructure, HVAC, and plumbing systems in this 1929 building are in urgent need of upgrades to keep up with the burgeoning student population. For the Elementary School and ECC, MRH continues to learn best practices for ensuring safety at our campuses. The practice of funneling visitors to one location has proven to help manage safety within buildings. This approach will take place at all of our campuses.
What is the longevity of the upgrades and replacements to the building systems and envelope?
Life expectancy (major projects):
Roofs 15-25 yrs
HVAC upgrades 15 yrs
Tuckpointing 25 - 40 yrs
How will construction affect the residences surrounding the schools?
MRH neighbors may notice periodic street closures and redirections, as well as heavy traffic involving contractors’ commercial vehicles.
Will student, staff, bus and visitor parking be affected during construction?
Yes, the district will be working with our neighbors and the city of Maplewood to identify alternate parking locations.
How will these improvements maintain and support our metaphors and curriculum?
This bond issue will provide new classrooms that will allow for expansion of electives at the middle school as well as ensure space for high school classes to meet. The addition of a gymnasium will allow physical education programming at the middle school and high school to be held throughout the day with enough space to run a full complement of both PE and health classes.
By upgrading the spaces for our interventions classrooms, MRH continues to improve our academic, social/emotional and behavioral supports for all students.