Warren County R-III School District voters will be asked Tuesday, Aug. 6, to approve a 39-cent tax levy increase.
If passed, the district would increase its operating tax levy from $3.5812 to $3.9712 per $100 assessed valuation starting with the 2019 tax year.
Prop W will generate about $1.1 million for the district.
Superintendent Dr. Gregg Klinginsmith said Prop W is about pay and the revenue would be spent on salaries for all staff in the district, including support staff.
Klinginsmith said teachers are one of the most important factors to student learning. In recent years, however, the district has lost 15 to 20 percent of its teachers each year.
“We’re toward the bottom 20 percent (in the state) of average years of experience,” Klinginsmith said. “We’re still losing people to the east.”
If approved, a resident with a home valued at $100,000 would see a tax increase of $73.32 per year.
In addition to its operating levy, the district has two other tax levies that will not be affected by Prop W.
The district’s debt services tax levy is 0.6418 cents per $100 assessed valuation. This tax pays various bond issues from years past from construction that has been refinanced, said Shelly Kinder, director of finance. She said the last bond expires in 2036.
The district’s capital projects levy is at 0.0814 cents per $100 assessed valuation. Kinder said it generates about $250,000 a year for maintenance needs around the district.
All of the taxes appear on one line on tax bills referenced to the Warren County School District. If passed, it will appear as a 9 percent increase overall from last year, Kinder said.
The last time the district asked voters to increase its operating tax was in April 2004. Voters approved the 47-cent per $100 assessed valuation increase.
Klinginsmith has been leading a plan to attract and retain teachers. Starting this year, teachers will work a four-day schedule most weeks during the school year.
A shorter work week is one incentive, Klinginsmith said, and the wage increase through the passage of this measure, would be another.
Prop W proponents said Warren County R-III teachers earn an average of $10,000 less per year than teachers in the Wentzville School District, meaning that in a 30-year career they stand to earn over $300,000 less.
“We’re not asking for more than Wentzville, we’re just trying to close the gap,” said Klinginsmith, who compared the district to others in St. Charles and Warren counties.
The Warren County School District has the lowest tax rate and the lowest assessed valuation, he said.
Districts with higher tax rates are Fort Zumwalt, Francis Howell, Orchard Farm, St. Charles County R-III, Wentzville and Wright City. All of them, he said, have a higher assessed valuation.
The district is offering more information on its website, www.warrencor3.org/our_district/august_6_tax_initiative_information.
The district’s student population is about 3,000, which places the district in the top 15 percent in the state, school district officials said. About half of the student population is on a reduced or free meal program.
The 2019-20 school year starts Tuesday, Aug. 13.