MRH places $30 million bond issue on ballot, no increase in tax rate if passed

The Maplewood Richmond Heights school board has voted to place Proposition E on the April 7 ballot, allowing the sale of $30 million in bonds to pay for necessary  infrastructure upgrades at all district buildings.

Residents’ property taxes will not increase if Prop E is passed.

Informational town hall meetings are planned at the MRH Elementary on Feb. 12 and at the ECC on March 24. Both are 7 – 8:30 p.m. Information is also online at mrhschools.net.

According to the district the funds would be used to construct new classrooms, create safer entry points in all buildings, make cafeteria improvements, replace windows and repair roofs, add a gymnasium, update restrooms, repair fields and playgrounds, add perimeter fencing, and make other upgrades designed to maintain safe and inspirational learning spaces.

For the high school and the middle school campus, additional classrooms, cafeteria expansion, as well as extending the gymnasium are planned. Also the infrastructure, HVAC, and plumbing systems in the 1929 building are in urgent need of upgrades to keep up with the burgeoning student population. For the elementary school and ECC, MRH continues to learn best practices for ensuring safety at our campuses. The practice of funneling visitors to one location has proven to help manage safety within buildings. This approach will take place at all campuses.

In 2005 the K-12 population was 971. At the end of last school year the population was 1,438, a 48% increase. In the middle and high schools the increases for that time period are 47% and 24% respectively.

29 thoughts on “MRH places $30 million bond issue on ballot, no increase in tax rate if passed

  1. Anne, The headline could also read, MRH places $30 million bond issue on ballot, If voted down, residents’ tax bill will drop from the current levels. Let me know if this is inaccurate?

    • mrhvoter – that is incorrect. Taxes will not change regardless of the outcome of the vote.
      Suppose you needed to take out a loan to buy a car. If you’re taking on a brand new loan, then you may need to find more income to qualify for the loan or to afford the payments. But if you’re replacing another car loan that you just paid off, then you wouldn’t need additional income (taxes) to be able to afford the new loan, nor will that portion of your income suddenly disappear because you’re no longer using it to pay the old loan. We’re in the latter situation. Your tax bill is based on a percentage rate of the assessed value of your property. Whether the bond is approved or nor, it will have no impact on that rate or your assessed value, so your tax bill will not change.

  2. The headline pretty clearly states there will be no tax increase, so I am confused (and, honestly, disheartened) by the number of comments discussing tax increases. I do understand that the recent tax increases are painful and problematic for many of us, and it’s no doubt an issue the community needs to engage. But let’s please not allow that discussion to derail this one and beget inaccurate perceptions.

    • Anne, I’d like to make an attempt to help clear up your confusion. Please correct me where I am inaccurate. First, one should not base their decisions on a headline, that in itself is dangerous and the entire picture is not clear(and cause confusion). I do agree with you that the tax increases are painful and problematic. I am going to attempt to re-write the headline and base story so the perception represents what happens if the bond is not passed.

      “MRH places $30 million bond issue on ballot, high taxes will continue if passed”

      Residents’ property taxes are set to decrease for the first time in over 20 years, but the school district has come up with another project and would like to ask the generous voters of the district to continue to keep taxes at an all-time high. The district is aware of the huge burden being put on home owners, especially the ones on fixed income to fund this endeavor and have offered no solutions. For some home owners, the district is asking them to put on hold fixing their own home, or paying down other debts to accommodate the districts needs/wants. Renters can also expect to pay more as landlords tax burden remain high, the cost will be absorbed by the renter.

      Folks listen up!!! If you would like a tax cut or put another way, an increase in your home budget, vote NO….YOUR TAX BILL WILL GO DOWN NEXT YEAR. If you are good with your current tax situation and would like to keep the tax burden the way it is, vote yes.

      Anne, Nowhere in this article does it state how much my tax burden will decrease if the bond is voted down. Would you have these numbers handy for a $200,000 home? I think if everyone had a clearer picture of what the bond issue REALLY could mean to their financial situation, it would lessen the confusion.

  3. I personally would like some assurances that the district isn’t going to build a bunch of stuff now and then tear it all down in 20 years. The population of our school district can only go up by so much and will cycle down again eventually, only to cycle back up. The high school had two gyms before they tore it down and the main gym was bigger than it is now. I think we are paying for some incredibly short-sighted, past school board now.
    When I went to Maplewood, a large portion of the population was older and the number of students was smaller. The population is now much younger and we have more students. We will always have a flux like this unless we gain more real estate somewhere. I really don’t want to support this if the district is just going to sell off buildings again and be back in the same mess.

  4. Our taxes went up over 15%. They are almost $5,000. Seems strange for a house that cost $15,000 when we purchased. The school district sold three schools. Did they think residence were going to stop having babies? Pretty soon they will want to buy land for a new school or schools. We are in our 80’s, our tax rate is a burden on our income. If infrastructure is in need of so much repair where has general maintenance been all the past years? As a homeowner repairs are made when needed why didn’t the school district make their repairs when needed?

  5. Here is a radical idea for you. Maybe the “free” in free public schools
    needs to be re-examined.
    Charter schools are not free. Parochial schools are not free.
    Private schools are not free.
    Would a small, repeat SMALL, tuition for enrollment in our
    public schools be out of the question. With assistance for hardships.
    In lieu of tax increases.
    Just food for thought.

  6. Henry, As the property taxes continue to go up, older residents will be forced to sell their homes because they can’t afford the taxes. If you have a mortgage that is fine, taxes can be paid out of that but what about those who own their homes? My taxes were almost $4000.00.
    I understand the children deserve an A+ education but more TAXES aren’t the answer.
    Go after the businesses, tax them and leave the unfortunate homeowners alone.

    • I’m not retired and the taxes are a stress on me. I don’t pay them through my mortgage but instead pay them at the end of the year when I hope to have a brief balloon in income. Just took out a loan for a new roof and to fix an expensive mistake by a previous homeowner. Plus I experienced a recent theft of property right at the point of year when my income is lowest. I can’t afford another 2009 recession. And no more tax increases. Enough is enough. I will vote no on anything that looks like it could risk an increase in my taxes, even if they pretend it won’t.

  7. I will be voting yes for this. Please let me know who I can reach out to I’m order to put a sign in my yard to help people know what’s going on.

  8. No tax increase bonds do increase your taxes. Instead of having your personal property bill go down each year it doesn’t. When a school district has to pay off a bond they then borrow more & add on more years of payment. That is how this works.

    • The school district has actually planned ahead and has money saved to pay back the bond. I went to the first town hall. It was very informative.

      • The money from the last two props? Then why do they need the bond if they have the money saved? Older folks in the community are concerned.

        • Hello Anne, I understand your concern. I know the actions of the District affect all community members, whether or not they have children in the schools. While the District has a reserve of 42% (money saved), this would not be enough to address the brick and mortar issues each school building currently faces. And because the District has saved money, it will not need to seek a tax levy because the it can used its savings to address those financial needs (i.e. teacher salary).

    • True Jack. My kids and now my grandchildren went and are in MRH. I have voted for every increase for 38 years. But here’s the deal. I’m guessing, and hope i’m wrong , the district needs to check occupancy permits. If parents not living in Maplewood or RH would pay their cost per child then we the homeowners wouldn’t bear all the cost. It’s possible 25-30 percent live out of the district. Their parents don’t own homes here thus pay no taxes.

  9. If the above is true… then what does the below quote mean on the previous article about this issue?

    “If this proposition is approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the school district is anticipated to remain unchanged at $1.35 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation of real and personal property.”

    • Hi Marty, “If this proposition is approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the school district is anticipated to remain unchanged at $1.35 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation of real and personal property.” This quote means the bond will not increase your property taxes.

  10. How do they pay for $30 million in bonds and not raise taxes? Have they retired bonds? Instead of lower home owners taxes, just buy more bonds to replace the one s retired. It sure would be nice to get a tax cut.

    • Tax cuts are great, but if you live in an area where the amount of children are increasing every year and if we continue to only fund the school with property taxes, then a tax cut is simply not practical. And the district will continue to need more funding if it continues to grow as it is.

      • Instead of giving tiff breaks to apartment projects that bring more students into the system. Or business that end up not paying their share. Maybe it’s time to give the residents a tax break. St Louis County, just had a huge increase in home assessments, creating huge increases in real estate taxes. This is going to create an increase to the tax amount the schools receive.

        • Did your tax bill actually go up that much? State law caps tax revenue increases from year to year. If your property value goes way up, your tax rates have to go down. Basically the tax revenue for any entity (eg school district) can only keep pace with inflation, without a vote to increase the rate.

          • So sad that retirement and social security checks don’t come close to keeping up with the pace of inflation. Tax increases puts even a bigger dent in limited income. Shame that 70 yr old people have to go back to work just to keep their homes.

            • Hi Harold, I wholeheartedly agree that it is shameful for 70 year-olds have to go back to work in order to stay in their homes. I know that Maplewood Council Member Sandi Phillips cares deeply about this. Please consider reaching out to her. As for the bond, it will not affect their ability to stay in their home. The District has been fiscally responsible so that it can ensure it won’t cause a hardship to any of our community members.

          • Yes, my tax bill went up a lot!!!! Have always said that the school district needs to “live within their means”. And yes, I said it when my child was in the district.

            • Susan- I agree with the general philosophy of living within one’s means, but the district’s student population has grown dramatically and those “means” are no longer adequate. That is just an objective fact if we want to continue developing a star school system that elevates the lives of our children (side note- I don’t even have kids!). We should not degrade the integrity of our public education system out of general resistance to an increased property value.

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