Updated Aug. 7, 2013
NOTE: Pattonville Community Forum on Aug. 6 - Pattonville hosted a community forum on Tuesday, Aug. 6 to engage residents on the state of the district and the need for a possible tax levy increase on the ballot this fall. The forum enabled parents, students, staff and community members to learn about and provide feedback on challenges facing the district and possible solutions. The event took place in the gymnasium at Pattonville High School. To view a copy of the presentation given at the forum, click here.
State of the District
- Pattonville is the most diverse district in Missouri to earn the state’s Distinction in Performance Award every year it has been bestowed (11 years). Pattonville’s performance ranks first in the state among districts with similar student demographics. In 2013, Pattonville High School was named to U.S. News and World Report's Best High Schools List, ranking No. 19 out of 560 high schools in Missouri and in the Top 10 percent of high schools in the nation. Pattonville's early childhood program was also named Missouri Early Childhood Program of the Year in 2012-2013.
- While Missouri already has some of the highest standards in the U.S. for reading and math, the state’s new accountability system (MSIP 5) and Missouri’s adoption of new national learning standards (the Common Core Standards) mean students and school districts will be held to even higher standards. In addition, the standards for accreditation and “Distinction in Performance” recognition will be more difficult to achieve. Pattonville parents, staff and community members recently worked through Pattonville's CSIP (Comprehensive School Improvement Plan) process to update Pattonville's strategic plan. Updated plans were approved to ensure Pattonville students are successful on these new standards and well prepared for life at college or a rewarding career. For more information on Pattonville's updated plan, click here.
- Pattonville's classrooms are filled with talented, caring and inquisitive students. The district has approximately 5,600 students in Grades K-12. The recession is impacting our student population. During the past five years, the percentage of Pattonville students eligible for free and reduced meals has increased to 44 percent of our student population (an increase of 9 percent). Our students are also a reflection of our diverse world. Forty-four percent of our students are minorities (Asian, black and Hispanic), up 7 percent from five years ago.
- The Pattonville Board of Education on June 25, 2013 approved an $86.6 million expenditure budget that includes a $1.6 million deficit in the operating budget. The deficit comes despite cutting $2.4 million in operating expenses, which included cost-saving measures such as closing Briar Crest Elementary School; freezing administrator salaries; reducing teacher and support staff movement on the salary schedule by 40 percent (net increase of 0 percent in salaries and benefits for 2013-2014); trimming textbook expenses by $566,500; and eliminating nine staff positions (seven support staff, one administrator and one
teacher). Since 2007, Pattonville has cut costs in the operating budget by $8.1 million.
- Pattonville has experienced declining revenues in its operating budget for nearly six years. The operating budget is suffering from a significant decrease in the assessed value of property (homes and businesses) in the district; successful tax appeals by large commercial property owners which have resulted in millions of dollars in lost revenue; the state underfunding its responsibilities to Pattonville; and a casino valuation debate now in the hands of the state tax commission, which has $5 million of Pattonville’s revenue at stake. “These are unprecedented, historical challenges that threaten Pattonville’s ability to maintain the excellence in academic programming and quality services we’ve come to expect,” said Dr. Mike Fulton, superintendent of schools. “We will spend the next several months developing plans to address these concerns. We need
increased revenues, further cuts or a combination of both to address declining revenues. Whatever decision is made, it is essential we protect the quality our schools.”
- Pattonville's financial issues remain in the operating levy and budget, the portion of Pattonville’s school tax/budget which pays for teacher salaries, transportation, textbooks and other academic resources for students. It is separate from and by law cannot be mixed with the debt service levy, which pays for building new facilities and/or making facility repairs and improvements. The debt service levy, which remains at 49 cents as promised to voters, meets Pattonville's needs for repaying bonds. The district's financial challenges are on the operating side only.
- More than 86 percent of Pattonville’s revenues come from local property taxes. Very little comes from state and federal resources. Approximately 85 percent of Pattonville expenses go to salaries and benefits for teachers and other staff that keep our schools running.
- Pattonville has worked through nearly $35 million in financial challenges/revenue reductions in the last 10 years (airport buyout, decline of Northwest Plaza, tax appeals, etc.) - all without asking for a tax levy increase.
- Over the past five years, Pattonville’s operating budget expenses have grown just half a percent (0.5 percent) on average due to the district’s proactive cost-cutting measures.
- Pattonville has reduced nearly 40 positions in four years (since 2010), saving the district $3.2 million in ongoing costs
- While assisting in updating Pattonville’s strategic plan, Pattonville parents and staff studied and suggested ways to save costs on transportation as part of the district’s overall cost-cutting efforts. In approving the district’s updated strategic plan, the Pattonville Board of Education on June 25, 2013, also approved a short list of recommendations to streamline the district’s transportation services that - along with previous staffing reductions - will save the district $200,000 annually. The changes are as follows: Reduce the number of bus stops throughout the district where possible to increase
efficiencies (Board of Education policy will be followed and potential safety concerns will be considered when identifying bus stop adjustments); and Remington Traditional students who live in the Pattonville Heights attendance area will share buses with Pattonville Heights students. In the past, transportation - as well as summer school - were funded primarily by state and federal funds. Over time, these funding sources were dramatically reduced or eliminated, and Pattonville can no longer subsidize them to the level it once did. The district should receive $1.3 million in state funding for transportation, but will only receive $450,000 because of state budget cuts.
Our Financial Future
- Although Pattonville has reduced its operating budget by $8.1 million since 2007, it will need to address another $4 to $5 million budget shortfall by 2014-2015 through more cuts to the operating budget, increased revenue (via increased property values or tax levy increase) or a combination of both (cuts and increased revenue). A negative outcome to the casino tax appeals case could result in Pattonville's budget deficit growing to $10 million ($10 million is 12.5 percent of Pattonville's operating budget and 85 percent of the district's budget is spent on staff - teachers and others who support our educational programs). Future cuts could have a significant impact on staffing (teachers, etc.), class size, transportation and programs for students.
- Pattonville Community Forum on Aug. 6 - Pattonville hosted a community forum on Tuesday, Aug. 6 to engage residents on the state of the district and the need for a possible tax levy increase on the ballot this fall. The forum enabled parents, students, staff and community members to learn about and provide feedback on challenges facing the district and possible solutions. The event took place in the gymnasium at Pattonville High School. To view a copy of the presentation given at the forum, click here.