Prop E

This proposition was originally filed as Proposition M. However, another Prop M will be on the ballot in St. Louis County and several municipalities. To avoid confusion, the Board of Education changed the name to Proposition E on Jan. 24, 2023.
Prop E

Proposition E will fund competitive salaries to attract and keep high-quality teachers and support staff at Mehlville School District

The Mehlville School District Board of Education voted unanimously at its Jan. 19, 2023, meeting to place a tax levy increase on the April 4, 2023 ballot. Proposition E would fund competitive salaries to recruit and retain high-quality teachers and support staff for the students of Mehlville School District. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Proposition E?

Proposition E is a proposal on the April 4, 2023, ballot asking voters who live within Mehlville School District to consider an operating levy increase of 31 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The operating tax rate increase would be used to fund competitive salaries to recruit and retain high-quality teachers and support staff (including bus drivers, custodians, cooks, nurses, front office staff and others) for the students of Mehlville School District.

Why is Prop E needed?

Mehlville School District has the lowest blended tax rate of all 22 school districts in St. Louis County. The district relies on local taxes for more than 75 percent of its budget. Salaries are the district’s top expense. Historic levels of inflation along with a low tax rate make it impossible for Mehlville School District to increase salaries to competitive levels without a tax increase.

The district routinely loses teachers to area districts that offer higher pay for the same level of experience. In the 2022-2023 school year, Mehlville School District is paying its starting teachers $1,938 less than the average starting teacher salary in other county districts. At higher levels of experience, Mehlville’s teacher salaries trail the county average by $7,585. Mehlville School District also loses teachers who change their career. Teacher resignations are up over the past four years. Note that the chart below does not include retiring teachers.
Teacher Resignations
Fewer qualified candidates are applying for open teaching positions at Mehlville School District. In prior years, it was not unlikely to get hundreds of applicants for a teaching position. The candidate pool has been shrinking. In January, Mehlville School District had three open math teacher positions, and as of Jan. 30, just five certified candidates applied.

Additionally, the district has faced workforce shortages among support staff positions. Notably, the district has 17 custodian vacancies (just 79% of custodial positions are filled) and 15 bus driver vacancies (just 83% of driver positions are filled). While this data is from Jan. 9, 2023, the district has had workforce shortages among support staff for the past three years.

Our community survey results show residents support increasing pay for teachers and support staff. Of those who responded:

  • 85 percent favor increasing teacher salaries to become competitive in the region and to attract and retain high-quality teachers.
  • 87 percent favor increasing salaries for bus drivers, custodians, cooks, nurses and other support staff to attract and retain these essential workers.

The district’s finance committee is tasked with providing assistance and direction on various financial issues to district leaders and the Board of Education. The committee has reviewed budget projections. They have indicated that competitive salary increases cannot be funded within our current budget. The finance committee supports asking the community for a tax levy increase for competitive salary funding.

How much will Prop E cost me?

Prop E is an operating tax rate increase of 31 cents for each $100 of assessed value. This means the annual tax increase for the owner of a $200,000 home would be approximately $118 per year, or just under $10 per month. The increase for an owner of a $300,000 home would be approximately $177 per year or about $15 per month. (Note: The figures in the chart below are rounded to the nearest whole dollar.)

Tax payments

Use the calculator below to determine a closer estimate of what Prop E would cost. Residents routinely over-estimate the appraised value of their homes. Visit the St. Louis County Assessor website to look up your home’s appraised value. Once you’ve located your property, scroll down to “Assessment Information.” Note the “2022 Appraised Total.” This is the number to enter into the calculator below.



What happens if Prop E passes?

Voter approval of Prop E will enable Mehlville School District to protect and improve the quality of staffing in the district, and help the district avoid deficit spending. A stable teacher workforce positively affects student achievement. Student safety and wellbeing is improved with fully staffed custodial, transportation and other critical support staff positions.

What happens if Prop E fails?

Without the added revenue generated by Prop E, Mehlville School District would face the following:

  • Continued workforce shortages among critical employee groups like bus drivers, custodians and school food workers that threaten the district’s ability to provide essential services
  • A decline in the quality of education the district can provide as competition for quality teachers continues to increase
  • Deficit spending just to provide employees with wage increases to match inflation and cost of living increases

Can Mehlville cut its budget or use its reserves to prevent the need for a tax increase?

Mehlville School District already has the lowest blended tax rate of all 22 school districts in St. Louis County in fiscal year 2021. Additionally, our expense per student, which represents normal daily operating expenses, is one of the lowest in the county in fiscal year 2022, ranking 19th out of 21 reporting school districts in the county.

The district budgets with efficiency in mind and strives to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars. We have demonstrated a high level of fiscal responsibility despite our consistently lean budget. 

Salaries are the district’s top expense. More than 80 percent of our budget goes toward salaries and benefits. Any budget cuts would threaten programs and services to students.

Mehlville School District has healthy reserves, and it has taken the district about a decade to build these up. Reserves are necessary to ensure the district does not have to engage in short-term borrowing to cover payroll. Our reserves also help us safely weather unforeseen economic downturns and avoid sudden budget cutting measures. The district’s finance committee, composed of residents with expertise in accounting and finance, recommends maintaining our reserve budget at levels to avoid short-term borrowing.

My personal property taxes increased this year. Why can’t Mehlville use those funds to increase salaries?

Historic levels of inflation (about 8% in 2022) impacted personal property taxes last year. The tax increase was directly related to the increased value of used vehicles.

Increased expenses for Mehlville School District are outpacing the revenue we receive from taxes, including the increased revenue we’ve received from personal property taxes.

Will Prop E pay for teaching interventionists?

Prop E does not include permanent funding for the 34 teaching interventionists hired using federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. These COVID relief funds end at the conclusion of the 2023-2024 school year.

The district estimates it would take an additional 13 cents in tax rate to permanently fund these positions, and an additional 8 cents to permanently fund other ESSER-funded programs, like after school clubs and tutoring and mental health supports. The board has indicated a strong desire to keep these 34 teachers, and is considering ways to fund these positions in the future. This could lead the board to place another tax levy increase on the ballot for voters to consider in November 2023 or April 2024.

When was the last time Mehlville asked voters to increase taxes?

The last time Mehlville School District went to the voters to ask for an operating tax rate increase was in 2015. Proposition R (Restore) was put on the ballot to restore cuts the district had made to programs and services for students. Prop R passed with 72.5% of the votes.

Mehlville School District asked voters for Prop A in April 2016 and Prop S in April 2021. Neither measure increased the tax rate, and both measures were passed.

Prop R, Prop A and Prop S addressed facility needs or restoring staff positions or programs. None of these propositions improved pay to attract and retain staff.

How many votes are required for passage of Prop E?

To pass, Prop E needs a simple majority yes vote of more than 50 percent.

When is the election?

The election takes place on Tuesday, April 4, 2023.

St. Louis County provides two options for early voting. Absentee voting begins on Feb. 21 for registered voters with an excuse. Early voting begins on March 21, 2023, for any registered voter. Learn more about absentee voting and early voting.

The deadline to register to vote in the April 4 election is March 8, 2023. Learn more about who can vote and get registered.

How will Prop E appear on the ballot?

PROPOSITION E

Shall the Board of Education of the Mehlville R-9 School District be authorized to increase the operating tax levy of the District for the purposes of increasing employee salaries to become competitive in the region and to attract and retain high-quality teachers and other essential workers; and fund ongoing operating expenses by $.31 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation? If this proposition is approved, the adjusted operating levy of the District is estimated to be $3.9884 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation.

If you have questions about Prop E, please contact Mehlville School District via email at [email protected] or by calling 314-467-5000.

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