Pattonville's $23 million zero tax rate increase bond issue
April 4, 2017 election ballot
What's on the April 4 election ballot?
The Pattonville Board of Education on Jan. 10 approved a new facilities plan for the district and voted to place a $23 million zero tax rate increase bond issue to fund the plan on the April 4 election ballot for voter approval. Passage of the bond issue will not increase the district's debt service tax rate, which is used solely to fund construction and major repair and improvement projects in the district. Pattonville has the capacity to issue up to $23 million in bonds without raising its debt service tax rate to complete projects in the facilities plan. As promised to voters during bond issues in 2006 and 2010, Pattonville has maintained its debt service levy - the portion of its tax rate that can only be used for paying off bond issue debt - at 49 cents per $100 of assessed value.
What's included in the bond issue?
The new facilities plan includes projects that address the following priorities (see overview below):
The facilities plan includes projects at all schools in the district.
Overview of Facilities Plan
Why is Pattonville reopening the former Briar Crest Elementary School?
Creating an early childhood center at Briar Crest will free up classroom space at Pattonville's elementary schools and enable the district to maintain lower elementary class sizes. Pattonville's early childhood program has classrooms in most elementary schools and the Pattonville Learning Center. Over the last few years, the program has grown, requiring more classroom space. Briar Crest closed in 2012 due to budget constraints and elementary students were redistricted into existing buildings. Approval of the bond issue will enable 14 preschool classrooms currently housed throughout the district to move into Briar Crest, along with the Parents as Teachers program and early childhood administrative staff. Renovations at Briar Crest will provide 14 classrooms designed for the specific needs of preschool children with the ability to add five more classrooms in the future. Pattonville's early childhood program is paid for by a combination of state/federal funds and parent tuition and provides services for students ages 3 through 5, including those with disabilities.
Briar Crest was closed in 2012 due to financial constraints. How is the district able to afford reopening the building for use?
Pattonville's early childhood program is paid for by a combination of state/federal funds and parent tuition, which will cover any additional costs, such as custodial support and utilities. Pattonville anticipates any additional costs to be minimal. The main costs associated with operating a school building are personnel costs - the people who work in the building serving students' needs. Reopening Briar Crest to serve as an early childhood facility will be done using existing staff members who are currently located in early childhood classrooms throughout the district and at the Pattonville Learning Center.
What is a bond issue?
Typically, school districts use bond issues to fund large and long-range construction, maintenance or repair projects that would be too costly to cover with existing budget funds. In a bond issue, a school district borrows money by issuing promissory notes that it will repay its investors. In a zero tax rate increase bond issue, a school district is able to fund repayment of the bonds through its existing budget, without raising its tax rate that is devoted to paying down debts (debt service levy).
What is a zero tax rate increase bond issue?
A zero tax rate increase bond issue works much like a home equity loan, where a homeowner who pays down his or her debt can spend up to his or her credit limit again for new projects without paying more in his or her monthly loan payment.
How can we complete these projects without raising taxes?
Bonds are low-interest loans the district pays back using funds from its debt service levy. Funds from the debt service levy cannot be used to pay for salaries, classroom supplies or other routine, budgeted items that support teaching and learning in the classroom. Pattonville can borrow up to $23 million in bond funds without raising the debt service levy used to repay the financing. This is the same situation that occurred when Pattonville voters approved zero tax rate increase bond issues in 2006 and 2010 to complete repairs and improvements to schools in the district. Pattonville committed to keeping its debt service levy at 49 cents when voters approved these bond issues, and the district has kept this promise despite being legally able to adjust the rate due to decreases in property values. With the new bond issue on the April 4 election ballot, Pattonville will be able to complete the projects in a new facilities plan using its same existing levy. Find out more at www.psdr3.org/newsinfo/pdf/FundingFacilities2016.pdf.
Official ballot language
Below is the question voters will be asked on the April 4 election ballot.
Shall the Board of Education of the Pattonville R-III School District, St. Louis County, Missouri, borrow money in the amount of twenty-three million dollars ($23,000,000) for the purpose of constructing, renovating, repairing, expanding, improving, furnishing and equipping school sites, buildings and related facilities for school purposes in the District, including, but not limited to (1) enhancing school safety and security (2) renovating aging classrooms, libraries and buildings, (3) improving facilities for early childhood education, (4) increasing energy efficiency, (5) increasing elementary classroom space, (5) supporting classroom technology, and (6) upgrading current facilities and instructional areas by continuing to fund major capital repairs and improvements, and issue general obligation bonds for the payment thereof, resulting in an estimated increase in the debt service property tax levy of zero cents ($0.00) per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation? If this proposition is approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the Pattonville R-III School District is estimated to remain unchanged from the current debt service levy of 49 cents ($0.49) per one hundred dollars assessed valuation of real and personal property.
Yes [ ]
No [ ]