Keep Improving De Soto Schools

Proposition KIDS is a .25 cent tax increase beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, and a permanent shift of .25 cents from debt service to the operating levy in the 2025 tax year. As a result, a total of .50 cents would be available starting in 2025 and generate approximately $1,140,000 annually. A successful passage of the ballot measure will allow us to use half of the funds, $570,000, for the maintenance and upkeep of district facilities and the other half of the funds to improve our ability to attract and retain quality certified and support staff; items our students need and deserve.

What will our school gain from Proposition KIDS?

  • Heating and Cooling Unit Replacement and repair at all schools

  • Roof Replacement and Repair at all schools

  • Technology Equipment Repair and Infrastructure Upgrades at all schools

  • Salary Increase to Attract and Retain Support and Certified Staff

Why does the district need community support to achieve these measures?

First, our schools as they stand today are in need of critical repairs estimated at over 8.5 million dollars. Addressing the heating and cooling replacement at each school, replacing roofs at each of our buildings, and replacing outdated technology and infrastructure is beyond the capacity of our annual district budget. We could use help from our community for these repairs as well as for needed items like replacing our stadium bleachers that failed inspection due to the overall condition of our grandstands. Our students deserve facilities that are conducive to and promote learning; this ballot measure is a necessary step to reach those goals.

Secondly, it is important that we maintain the ability to attract and retain quality certified and support staff. All of our District staff deserve a living wage and competitive salaries are necessary to retain quality staff for all students. Our district enrollment is 2,396, which is a reduction of approximately 500 students in the past five years. Our annual state revenue has decreased by approximately 2 million dollars as a result of the loss of enrollment. We also expect an additional decrease of 1.7 million in annual state revenue over the next few years. The district has reduced expenditures by right sizing as student numbers decreased, however, the revenue loss makes it difficult to sustain competitive salaries.

Is this a tax increase? Does the tax become permanent?

As the language reads, we are looking at an operating increase of fifty cents. Twenty five cents would be a tax increase to the operational levy starting in the 2022-2023 school year. The other twenty five cents is currently being used to pay off debt and would be available to be moved in the school year 2024-2025. This is twenty five cents our tax payers are currently paying and would permanently extend past 2030 when the debt is currently projected to be paid.

What has been done to avoid a tax increase?

As a district, we have strived to reduce waste and maximize savings in order to stretch every taxpayer dollar. Our Board of Education has taken advantage of strategic financing options with lower interest rates, saving $11,496,916 in taxpayer dollars over the last twenty years. Although grants are only a one time funding source, we have also taken advantage of multiple grants when available and have received over one million dollars over the past few years. Over the last ten years, we have reduced 38 positions, 29 of these have happened in the past five years as a result of right sizing the district based upon student enrollment numbers.

A multitude of factors has made it harder for our district to provide a competitive living wage to all district employees as well as addressing needed capital improvement, which in turn adversely affects De Soto students. No one wants to raise taxes or wants to be on the receiving end of having their taxes raised. However, we must ask our De Soto community to, once again, support the schools we need now for the future we want because as a district, we cannot accomplish these things without the additional support.

What is the average cost per household?

According to the United States Census, the average median value of a house in De Soto is $112,200. An individual with a $112,200 house would pay approximately $53.30 a year or $4.44 per month based upon a .25 cent tax increase.

An individual with a $200,000 house would pay approximately $95 a year based upon a .25 cent tax. An individual with $30,000 in personal property a .25 cent increase would be $25 per year.

Total increase for the individual with the $200,000 house and $30,000 in personal property example above would be a $120 increase per year, or $10 a month, to ensure we have the schools we need now for the future we want.

Why is there a need for a ballot measure?

In order to make these changes, a simple majority of voters needs to agree. Our Board of Education approved a resolution for a special school election to be held on April 5, 2022 for the purpose of asking our community to pass Proposition KIDS.

What is the official ballot language?

Proposition KIDS (Keep Improving De Soto Schools)

Shall the Board of Education of the De Soto #73 School District, Missouri be authorized to increase the operating tax levy by $0.5000 to $3.9052 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation for the purposes of attracting and retaining quality certified and support staff, maintaining and upkeep of facilities, and meeting additional operating expenses?

If this proposition is approved, the adjusted operating tax levy of the District is estimated to increase by $0.2500 from $3.4052, currently, to $3.6552 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation for the 2022 through 2024 Tax Year and $0.2500 from $3.6552, to $3.9052 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation for the 2025 Tax Year and can be applied to the assessed valuation for each year thereafter. The District intends to reduce the debt service levy by $0.2500 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation in order to offset the estimated $0.2500 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation increase to the operating levy in Tax Year 2025 if this Proposition is approved by the voters.

The Schools We Need Now For The Future We Want.