Pattonville Board of Education on June 11 reviewed a $99 million balanced operating budget for the 2019-2020 school year. A final vote is anticipated at the June 25 meeting. This is the sixth year in a row the district has achieved a balanced budget. Pattonville is able to continue to balance its budget as a result of voter approval of Proposition P in 2013. Additional revenue from Prop P prevented the need to cut $10 million from the budget after the district already cut $8 million between 2007 and 2013.
The 2019-2020 budget was established based on several factors:
- Small increase in health costs - The rising cost of health insurance continues to be a major concern nationally, but due to proactive measures in prior years, the district had four consecutive years of 0% increases in health and dental insurance, followed by 7% in 2018-2019 and 6% for the upcoming school year.
- Three-year agreement with staff - Pattonville is beginning the first year of a three-year agreement in which teachers and support staff receive an overall 3.6% increase in salary and benefits each year; however, the actual cost to the district is lower due to staff retirements and resignations, many of them due to a separation incentive plan (SIP) offered in the 2018-2019 school year. As a result of the SIP and minimal increases in health insurance costs, the actual increased cost of salary and benefits will be approximately 2.65% over the length of the three-year agreement.
- Less than 2% increase in existing property values - Pattonville's revenues are based on the assessed value of property in the district, as set by the St. Louis County assessor's office. Based on preliminary data from St. Louis County, property values in Pattonville are expected to increase 9.1% in 2019. However, per state law, district revenues can only increase percentage-wise by the percentage increase in value of the national Consumer Price Index (CPI), which grew by an estimated 1.9% during that same time. As a result, Pattonville's tax rates will be reduced so that revenue from existing property only grows 1.9%. Aside from existing property, the district anticipates an additional $1.9 million in revenues from new construction, which is not tied to the CPI limit.
- Capital spending on high-priority needs - The new budget includes the purchase of four new school buses, eight maintenance vehicles, replacing interactive white boards and music instruments, lease payments for student laptops and iPads, energy improvements in the district, virtual server replacements and miscellaneous maintenance and repairs at district campuses.
- "Hold Harmless" state funding - Approximately 87% of Pattonville's funding comes from local taxpayers. About 10% of Pattonville's revenues - or $9.5 million for 2019-2020 - comes from state funding through the state's Foundation Formula. Under this formula, Pattonville continues to be a "hold harmless" district, receiving just $4.8 million per year, or approximately $830 per student. The remainder of state revenue includes funds received from Missouri to pay for transportation and early childhood special education. The hold harmless designation means Pattonville received a higher level of funding under an older 1992 formula than the current formula provides. As a result, Pattonville is held harmless to the level of funding received in 1992. Pattonville receives the 511th lowest level of funding from the state out of 520
districts in Missouri.
- Addressing commercial tax appeals - Tax appeals by commercial property owners continue to be a budget focus for the district. Over the past decade, Pattonville has refunded more than $20 million to commercial taxpayers due to appeals (approximately $2 million annually). In recent years, the amount of successful appeals has begun to decline. As a result, the district has budgeted $1 million to address anticipated tax appeal refunds in the 2019-2020 school year.
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