FAQs about Proposition SCSD
Q. What is Proposition SCSD?
A. Proposition SCSD is a NO TAX RATE INCREASE bond issue that will allow the District to borrow money to fund capital projects such as building renovations, repairs, technology infrastructure/equipment and other building upgrades. If approved, Proposition SCSD will generate approximately $50 million for the District without raising the District's tax rate.
Q. When will voters decide upon Proposition SCSD?
A. Proposition SCSD will be voted upon on April 6th, 2021.
Q. How will the official ballot language of Proposition SCSD read?
A. Shall the Board of Education of the School District of the City of St. Charles, Missouri, borrow money in the amount of Fifty Million Dollars ($50,000,000) for the purpose of constructing, renovating, repairing, improving, furnishing and equipping school sites, buildings and related facilities, including (1) improving learning resources by upgrading technology throughout the District, (2) maintaining school facilities by continuing to fund capital repairs and improvements, (3) implementing and improving safety and security measures District-wide and (4) making energy efficient and conservation improvements to District buildings, and issue general obligation bonds for the payment thereof, resulting in no estimated increase in the debt service property tax levy? If this proposition is approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the District is estimated to remain unchanged at seventy-five cents ($0.75) per one hundred dollars assessed valuation of real and personal property.
Q. What will the money from Prop SCSD be used for?
A. Money from bond issues can only be used for capital projects such as building renovations, repairs, technology costs and other building upgrades. No money from the bond issue can or will be used for employee compensation or salary increases. A District brochure and building flyers with a list of projects can be found here.
Q. How can the passing of Proposition SCSD result in a no tax rate increase?
A. If approved, the proposition will generate $50 million for the District without raising the District's debt service rate, which is seventy-five cents ($.75) per one hundred dollars assessed valuation of real and personal property.
The District is able to ask for a bond without raising the debt service due to the District's efforts to pay-off existing bond issue debt ahead of schedule. This new debt would be paid back by the existing debt service tax rate over the next twenty years. Additionally, solid financial management of the District has allowed us to address many ongoing maintenance needs over time, reducing the amount that would have otherwise been needed (the District has received the Meritorious Budget Award from the Association of School Business Officials International).
Q. Can the District just save the money needed for these projects instead of a bond issue?
A. For school districts in Missouri, there is no dedicated funding source for the renovation or construction of school facilities. The primary route to gaining access to funding is through the issuance of bonds, like with Prop SCSD, to generate funding for these needs. The District can not maintain the same debt service tax rate and save this money over the course of several years and avoid issuing bonds (debt). The tax rate for debt service is required to be no larger than what is necessary to pay for existing bonds.
For the school district, a general obligation bond issue is similar to a homeowner with a mortgage. We are able to access funding at the beginning of the bond issue, and then repay it over 20 years. We believe the Prop SCSD proposal and other bond issues like it are the most responsible way for the district to take care of capital improvements to our existing facilities to ensure they are accessible and equipped properly for succeeding generations of students in our community.
Q. How were the proposed school renovation and remodeling projects selected?
A. District employees collaborated with district administration to put together a list of needs for each building. Over the course of 3, 2-hour meetings during the month of October 2020, parents, district employees and community members came together to discuss the needs of the schools. At the end of these sessions, panel members created a list that ranked all the proposed projects in order of importance. The results were then tabulated and a master list for the capital improvement projects was created.
Q. What happens if Proposition SCSD doesn't pass?
A. Should Proposition SCSD not be passed by the voters, the district would have to delay or discard significant construction projects and building upgrades vital to keeping our schools safe, secure and up-to-date.
Q. If passed, how long will it take to complete all projects?
A. If Proposition SCSD passes, work would begin during Summer 2021. It would take approximately three years to complete all projects since much of this work will need to be scheduled in and around our use of buildings for school.
Q. Didn’t the district pass a Bond Issue in 2017?
A. Yes. In 2017 the District passed a $47 million bond issue that allowed the district to make numerous building upgrades and, primarily, build our state-of-the-art Early Childhood Center that opened in August of 2018. All promised projects were completed on time and on budget. These new bonds would pay for projects that are necessary for us to keep our buildings in excellent condition for future generations of St. Charles students. Passing a bond issue every three or four years allows the District to address its most pressing needs, while deferring other projects to future bond issues.
Q. What if I don't have students in the district? How does Proposition SCSD benefit me?
A. Strong, stable public education institutions are the backbone of every successful and prosperous community. Proposition SCSD is a direct investment into community infrastructure that will affect even those who don't have direct ties to the school district. The impact of excellent public schools is felt in residential property values and is a consideration for businesses when considering whether or not to locate within our community.
Q. How does passing this bond issue affect the financial stability of the district?
A. If the bond issue passes, many of the major capital projects of the district will be addressed. By seeking voter approval for regular bond issues to take care of these big projects, there is not as much need to spend operating funds on them. This allows more of the operating budget to remain dedicated to instruction in our classrooms.