Mehlville Board of Education approves a balanced budget for 2022-2023 school year

Mehlville Board of Education approves a balanced budget for 2022-2023 school year
Posted on 06/27/2022
Budget approved for 2022-2023 school yearThe Mehlville School District Board of Education unanimously approved the budget for the 2022-2023 school year (fiscal year 2023) at its June 23 meeting. The operating budget for fiscal year 23 is break-even.

“We remain focused on being good stewards of our resources, and our budget next year is sound,” said Dr. Chris Gaines, superintendent. “However, we know we will have financial challenges in the next few years. We are struggling to attract and retain support staff and teachers, and we continue to face costly facilities and maintenance expenses.”

Funds generated by Prop S have allowed the district to begin to address overdue safety and infrastructure issues, including the addition of secure entrances at each school. The more than $35 million from the Prop S bond issue does not address all of the district’s facilities needs, including future HVAC replacements. When it comes to investing in its buildings and grounds, Mehlville School District trails behind neighboring school districts. The district ranks last among St. Louis county school districts in outstanding debt per student.

More than 85% of the district’s operating expenses are salaries and benefits. While the district was able to increase salaries for fiscal year 2023, we still struggle to offer competitive compensation. Many of the district’s support staff positions, especially in facilities, transportation, and school food and nutrition were unfilled. During the 2021-2022 school year, about 24% of custodian positions were vacant, about 16% of bus driver positions were vacant, and about 17% of school food positions were vacant.

Prop R, Prop A and Prop S addressed capital needs, and staff positions were restored or added,” said Marshall Crutcher, the district’s chief financial officer. “But they did nothing to improve competitive pay to attract and retain existing staff.”

The salaries and benefits portion of the budget also includes $2.3 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds from the federal government. These funds have been used to hire 34 interventionist teachers to support student learning at 17 schools. Federal funding for these positions ends following the 2023-2024 school year, so additional measures would be needed to retain these staff members.

Mehlville School District has the lowest blended tax rate of all St. Louis County school districts. The district is second to last in the county when it comes to expense per student. 

View the FY23 budget.

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