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The Kirkwood Call

Still a destination district?

Abby Carpenter, news-features editor

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KSD board of Education approved Proposition A, an operating tax increase of 78 cents per 100 dollars of assessed value, July 20, 2015. Proposition A was voted down by the Kirkwood community on Nov. 3, 2015. In December 2015, 52 staff positions were cut throughout the district. Proposition K, a tax levy increase of 46 cents per 100 dollars of assessed value will be voted on, on April 4, 2017.

If Proposition K passes, KSD will receive an additional $5.8 million per year which will be used to fund schools and provide financial stability for at least the next five years, according to Mike Romay, KSD chief financial officer. Romay said a portion of the money will be used to restore the cuts made after the failure to pass Proposition A.

“One of the challenges we have is that we will not be able to restore everything and we want to make sure we don’t over-promise,” Ginger Cayce, KSD chief communications officer, said. “But we are working with our principals to make sure the critical needs are being met.”  

KSD has created marketing plans to make sure the proposition will pass. Plans include ads in The Webster-Kirkwood Times and three town hall meetings that will be live-streamed on Facebook and open for questions. There will also be people available to talk with community members who live in senior living facilities because they have a large voting impact, according to Cayce. The district is also encouraging community members to tour KSD schools to have a first-hand experience about what happens inside the elementary schools, middle schools and high school. In addition, there is a “yes” committee and a “no” committee using social media as their main platforms for communication.

If the levy fails again, activities outside the classroom will be cut in order to provide supplies in critical need, according to Cayce. Some possible cuts include before and after school activities such as clubs, elementary band and orchestra and freshman sports. Also, KSD currently has 18 buses, and failure of the proposal may result in cutting 16 of them. This means students would have to live more than 3.5 miles away in order to be picked up by one of the two buses, Romay said. The official KSD budget and cuts will be finalized by early May according to Darnel Frost, Kirkwood School Board president.

“It’s very important to know that we value all of those things,” Bryan Painter, KSD assistant superintendent, said. “We know that after-school programs, before-school programs, instrumental music, transportation, freshman sports, are all, in my opinion, super important to the education of our students. Those are the areas that, unfortunately, we have to focus on because we don’t want to affect the classroom any more. I don’t want anyone to think that we don’t value those because we really do.”

   KSD is considered a “Hold Harmless” district, meaning the state of Missouri has determined that the property taxes from the community should be able to provide the majority of money for the district. KSD receives $572 per student from the state for the 2016-17 school year, the fourth lowest amount per student in St. Louis County.

“[Proposition K] is all about the students,” Painter said. “It’s about us meeting the needs of our kids. Our teachers are working really hard and are good at what they do, but there are a lot of things right now that are causing the finances to impact how good we can be for kids. We believe in our students and we will do everything we can to support them, but we need the money to do that.”

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Student newspaper of Kirkwood High School.
Still a destination district?