I am writing to ask you to vote against a big property tax increase on April 3. The Ladue School Board is proposing a tax increase of $466 for every $500,000 of your home’s appraised value.
I care about St. Louis, the city where I was born and raised. I started my education long ago at the DeMun Elementary School and ended it with a B.A. and a J.D. from Washington University. I’ve lived for the last 18 years in Ladue.
The School Board says this tax increase is needed to avoid $2.1 million in spending cuts. The Board should tighten its belt like taxpayers and businesses have had to do in the current recession. There are plenty of ways to cut the budget, such as freezing salaries and benefits instead of handing out raises. The district employs 13 counselors and 12 principals/assistant principals for six schools. A “director of diversity” makes $94,913 and an “administrative intern” makes $83,981. The average full-time teacher salary (not including generous benefits) is $60,552 for 9 months of work during school hours. The superintendent makes $184,000 — 37% more than the Governor of Missouri. The $14.5 million new Early Childhood Center and full-day kindergarten are unnecessary taxpayer-funded babysitting. Elementary school foreign language instruction is a waste. The district does not need to keep spending $20,907 per student as it did in 2011 (including debt service and capital outlays). That is almost as much as tuition for MICDS.
To make matters worse, board members admit they want more tax increases in the future, because they say the levy on the April ballot is not nearly enough to dig them out of their fiscal hole.
The way to send a message to the School Board to live within its means is to vote NO on Proposition 1 on April 3. Thank you.