Prop S will create safer entrances at our schools without raising the tax rate

Prop S will create safer entrances at our schools without raising the tax rate
Posted on 02/26/2021
Forder Elementary principal Dr. Whitney Maus greets students as they enter for the dayThe passage of Prop S, a zero tax rate increase bond issue on the ballot on April 6, 2021, would allow Mehlville School District to create security entrances at each school. These entrances would create a safer environment for students, staff and community members. 

“When a visitor comes to Forder, they buzz the main office, and our secretaries unlock the main doors to allow them to enter the building,” said Dr. Whitney Maus, Forder Elementary School principal. “Once they enter, there’s access to a stairwell, the commons area and the main hall before they would even find the main office.” 
Forder Elementary entrance
Image: Current Forder Elementary School entrance

Currently, visitors are required to identify themselves via camera outside of school entrances before proceeding to the main office to be cleared to go to their destination in the building. In all of our schools, however, visitors have immediate access to staff and students before they were to reach the office.

“When a guest or parent is buzzed in, our secretaries can’t see them visibly walk into the building,” said Mike Salsman, Oakville Middle School Principal. “A visitor could go down the stairs or down any of our hallways without ever reaching the office.”
Oakville Middle School entrance
Image: Current Oakville Middle School entrance

While current procedures like the intercom and camera system help our staff speak with visitors before they enter the building, the current configuration of our offices create safety concerns.

“The main problem I see with the entrances is that the secretaries are not up front,” said Officer Sam Lang, School Resource Officer at several district schools. “Once they let someone into the building, they’re already there and can go down hallways without anybody seeing them.”
Forder entrance rendering
Image: If Prop S passes, visitors to Forder Elementary (rendering above) and other schools would enter immediately into the office so their identity can be verified before they enter the rest of the building.

If voters pass Prop S, the entrances of each school in Mehlville School District would be reconfigured with secretaries and the school resource officer directly by the front door. Once buzzed in, visitors would be in a secure holding area where they will be greeted. If visitors have business within the school, they will have their identity verified and will be screened before provided access to the rest of the building. 

“We need to know who’s in our schools, and we need to make sure they’re going where they need to go,” said Dr. Chad Dickemper, Executive Director of Planning and Development. “Security entrances will give us the ability to do that.”

Watch this video to learn more about how security entrances will help to keep students and staff safe.

In addition to security entrances, Prop S would also fund projects relating to improved access for individuals with disabilities; heating, cooling and ventilation upgrades; restroom renovations and additions; parking lot improvements; roof replacements and other projects. Learn more about Prop S

How will Prop S fund projects without raising the tax rate?
Each year, Mehlville School District pays off debt from Certificates of Participation (COP, sometimes called a lease), another type of loan for school facilities. Because of responsible financial management, we will soon pay off all of our COP debt. As a result, about 45 cents of the total tax levy will be freed up for our operating budget. 

Voter approval of Prop S would allow the district to transfer 12 cents of the existing tax rate to address facility needs at all schools within Mehlville School District at no additional cost to the taxpayer.
Prop S funding

Are you registered to vote?
If you aren’t already registered to vote, the deadline to register is Wednesday, March 10, 2021. The Missouri Secretary of State’s website has several options to register to vote: 
- Print and mail your application
- Register in person
- Request an application be mailed to you

The Mehlville School District strictly prohibits discrimination and harassment against employees, students or others on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sex including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity and other characteristics protected by law. The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: contact Adam Smith at 314-467-5006 or [email protected].