School bond and tax elections in Missouri

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School bond and tax elections in Missouri are held under four different circumstances:
  • For issuing bonding for new construction and capital improvements.
  • If a school district has an excess levy.
  • If a school district needs to exceed the overall debt limitation known as the debt ceiling.
  • Adjustments in levies whether to reduce or increase the amount of taxpayer levy used known as "Proposition C".

Laws affecting school finance

Because Missouri is a Initiative and Referendum state, three major school finance laws in Missouri were passed by referendums.

Missouri bond issue law

Missouri has two different sets of provisions for requiring an election for the issuing new bonds for metropolitan, non-metropolitan, and urban school districts. The current bond issue laws were passed by the Missouri General Assembly in 1963.

Metropolitan school districts

Metropolitan school districts are defined Under Missouri statutes as a district that is considered urban but is not part of a county. An example of this is St. Louis City and County which has a consolidated government.[1] A metropolitan school district must ask for voter approval for issuing bonds for:

  • Purchasing sites for school buildings and libraries.
  • Construction of new school buildings
  • Repairs and capital improvements of existing facilities.
  • Building additions to existing facilities.[2]

Non-Metropolitan school districts

Under Missouri statutes, a non-metropolitan school district must ask for voter approval for issuing bonds for:

  • Purchasing sites for school buildings and libraries.
  • Construction of new school buildings.
  • Repairs and capital improvements of existing facilities.
  • Purchasing school buses and other transportation equipment.
  • Paying off bond obligations (discharge and assessment) to other governments with the erection, construction and maintenance of sewers and sewer systems, sidewalks, guttering, curbing and paving of streets, and alleys adjoining and abutting real estate of the district. This is used if the general funds of the district are insufficient in the judgment of the board to pay and discharge the assessment.[3]

Urban school districts

A urban school district is considered if a district serves a population greater than 70,000.[1] Under Missouri statutes, a urban school district must ask for voter approval for issuing bonds for:

  • Purchasing sites for school buildings, public library buildings, art galleries, museums, janitors' houses, repair buildings, and supply houses in which the school district uses for the operation and maintenance of schools.
  • Other land for school purposes.
  • Building additions to existing facilities.
  • Remodeling and reconstructing existing buildings.
  • Purchasing school buses and other transportation equipment.[4]

Missouri excess levy law

In Missouri, the excess levy law prohibits school districts from exceeding the maximum tax rates set by the Missouri Constitution. School districts that are formed in a city or a town including St. Louis cannot exceed the cap of two dollars and seventy-five cents on the hundred dollars assessed valuation with all other districts limited on sixty-five cents on the hundred dollars assessed valuation.[5] This provision is different from the tax ceiling as the tax ceiling is an overall levy limit.

Missouri debt ceiling law

Missouri sets a ceiling for tax increases, and any tax increase over the debt ceiling requires approval of the voters. The voters of Missouri on November 7, 1950 approved the debt ceiling. In Missouri, no school district cannot raise the tax levy over the $6 per $100 of taxable property ceiling.[6] The debt ceiling is the limit of all levies a school district has outstanding.

Proposition C

On November 2, 1982, the voters of Missouri adopted Proposition C. Under Proposition C, voter approval is required for school districts to change current operating levies. Any attempt by a school district to reduce or increase a existing levy under Proposition C requires voter approval.[7]

Conduct of the bond election, limitations, rules

Authority conducting elections

All elections are conducted by the County Clerk's office.[8]

Election dates

Missouri school districts can hold an election during the first Tuesday in February, March, April, June, or August during odd numbered years. During even numbered years school districts can hold their election during the first Tuesday of November. [9]

Needed majority

For elections requiring voter approval under the debt ceiling and Proposition C, a super-majority two-thirds vote (66.7%) is required. [6] [7] For bond issues a four-sevenths super-majority (57.14%) is required.

Special elections

In Missouri, a special election can be held at anytime, but the school district is held liable for all costs incurred.[10] [11]

Wording of measures

Under Missouri Law, all ballot measures must end in YES or NO.[12] The following are the proper wording of ballot questions.

For Excess Levy

Shall the school board of ....... (name of district) be authorized to increase the operating tax levy for ...... (list purpose or purposes) by ...... (amount of increase) per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation? If this proposition is approved, the adjusted operating levy of the school district is estimated to be ....... (amount) per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation?

For Bond Issue

Shall the .............................. board of education borrow money in the amount of ........... dollars for the purpose of ............................ and issue bonds for the payment thereof resulting in an estimated increase to the debt service property tax levy of ......... (amount of estimated increase) per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation? If this proposition is approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the school district is estimated to increase from ........ (amount of current school district levy) to ............. (estimated adjusted debt service levy) per one hundred dollars assessed valuation of real and personal property?

Required notice of bond election

General and Primary Elections

It is up to school districts in Missouri to give the appropraite public notice for school bond elections as long enough notice is given. [15]

Special Elections

If a school district calls for a special election, the district must give ten weeks notice before the election to their local election authority. Also, a sample ballot must be publicly disclosed four weeks before the election.[16]

List of 2009 Missouri school bond referendums

The following are school bond referendums that were held in 2009 in Missouri. All results are provided by the Missouri State Auditor's bond database.

Date District Bond Amount Passed/Failed  % Pass
April 7 Ash Grove Issue $2.175 million in bonding for improvements to the high school. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 89.8% to 10.2%
November 3 Cole County Authorize $2 million in borrowing for capital improvements Two-Thirds Majority Required
April 3 Columbia Area Issue $2.875 million in bonding for new elementary school and for site acquisition to go for a new high school. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 76% to 24%
November 3 Independence Issue $85,000,000 in new bonding for building elementary school facilities, macquiring properties for school purposes, renovating, repairing and improving existing school buildings and furnishing and equipping the same? If approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the District is estimated to increase from $0.85 to $1.00 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation of real and personal property. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15%
April 7 North St. Francois County Issue $7.5 million in bonding for improvements and re-construction of school facilities. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 78% to 22%
April 7 Louisiana Issue $2.6 million in bonding for improvements and re-construction of school facilities. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 78.9% to 21.1%
April 7 Orchard Farm Issue $9 million in bonding for land acquisition of a new elementary school and other capital improvements. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 73% to 27%
April 7 Puntam County Issue $7.5 million in bonding for new elementary school. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 67.6% to 32.4%
February 3 Reorganized #4 (Jackson County) Issue $71.5 in bonding for site acquisition and capital improvements. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 89.1% to 10.9%
November 3 Republic (Greene County) Issue $6.5 million dollars in new bonding for building a new high school Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15%
November 3 Riverview Gardens (St. Louis County) Issue $15 million in new bonding for acquiring, constructing, renovating, expanding, improving, furnishing and equipping school sites, buildings and related facilities. If this proposition is approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the school district is estimated to remain unchanged from the current debt service levy of $1.01 per one hundred dollars assessed valuation of real and personal property. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15%
November 3 Springfield Authorize $50 million in new bonding in which part is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The bonding would be authorized for renovations and capital improvements Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15%
April 7 Special Road (Davieess County) Issue $200,000 in bonding to improve roads owned by the school district. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 95.7% to 4.3%
November 3 Sturgeon Authorize $2.5 million in borrowing for capital improvements. Two-Thirds Majority Requirement
April 7 Wright City Issue $2.7 million in bonding to improve improve heating and air conditioning equipment district-wide and for improvements to the district's athletic complex. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 59.93% to 40.07%

Historical Bond Referendums

2008

Date District Bond Amount Passed/Failed  % Pass
November 4 Bayless Consolidated (St. Louis Area) Issue $3.7 million in bonding for site upgrades district-wide Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 67.1% to 32.9%
November 4 Belton Issue $4.3 million in bonding to pay for district-wide debt obligations Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 75.4% to 24.6%
November 4 Brentwood Issue $4.8 millionn bonding for new early childhood center and to repay previous bond obligations Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 69.6% to 30.4%
November 4 Clinton County Issue $6.78 million in bonding for school facilities. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 61.1% to 38.9%
November 4 Francis Howell (St. Louis Area) Issue $40 million in bonding to remodel high school, elementary school, and maintenance building. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 65.1% to 34.9%
August 5 Jefferson County (St. Louis Area) Issue $1 million in bonding for site acquisition for a new high school. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 57.7% to 42.3%
November 4 Kearney Borrow $7.25 million for capital improvements of school district facilities. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 61.8% to 38.2%
November 4 Lindbergh Issue $10 million in bonding to remodel the middle school to ease overcrowding at the facility. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 72.4% to 27.6%
November 4 Mehlville Establish a levy ceiling Two-Thirds super-majority required 66.7% Failed 62% to 38%
April 8 Normandy Issue $10 million in bonding to to upgrade facilities district-wide. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 62.6% to 37.4%
November 4 Parkway (St. Louis Area) Issue $53 million in bonding to pay for district wide debt obligations. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 69% to 31%
November 4 Ritenour Issue $20 million in bonding to improve technology equipment and upgrade facilities. Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 64.8% to 35.2%
November 4 Shawanee Issue $425,000 in bonding for capital improvements Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 64% to 36%
November 4 Wentzville Issue $8.54 million in bonding for capital improvements Four-Sevenths Majority Required 57.15% Passed 72.23% to 27.77%

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Missouri General Assembly" Missouri Education Law(Referenced Statute 160.011 Missouri Revised Statutes)
  2. "Missouri General Assembly" Missouri School Bond Law(Referenced Statute 164.141 Missouri Revised Statutes)
  3. "Missouri General Assembly" Missouri School Bond Law(Referenced Statute 164.121 Missouri Revised Statutes)
  4. "Missouri General Assembly" Missouri School Bond Law(Referenced Statute 164.131 Missouri Revised Statutes)
  5. "Missouri General Assembly" Constitution of Missouri(Referenced statute Article X, Section 11(b))
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Missouri General Assembly" Constitution of Missouri(Referenced statute Article X, Section 11(c))
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Missouri General Assembly" Missouri School Bond Laws(Referenced Statute: Missouri Revised Statutes 164.013)
  8. "Missouri General Assembly"(Revised Statute 115.015 Missouri Revised Statutes)
  9. "Missouri Statutes" Missouri Election Law(Referenced Statute 115.123 Missouri Revised Statutes)
  10. "Missouri General Assembly" Missouri Election Law(Referenced Statue 115.063 Missouri Revised Statutes)
  11. "Missouri General Assembly" Missouri Election Law(Referenced Statute 115.125 Missouri Revised Statutes)
  12. "Missouri General Assembly" Missouri Election Law(Referenced Statute 115.245 Missouri Revised Statutes)
  13. "Missouri General Assembly" Missouri Tax Levy Law(Referenced Statute 164.031 Missouri Revised Statutes)
  14. "Missouri General Assembly" Missouri Tax Levy Law(Referenced Statute 164.151 Missouri Revised Statutes)
  15. "Missouri General Assembly" Missouri Election Law(Referenced Statute 164.091 Missouri Revised Statutes)
  16. "Missouri General Assembly" Missouri Election Law(Referenced Statute 115.125 Missouri Revised Statutes)