St. Charles School District asking taxpayers for $10.5 million i -

St. Charles School District asking taxpayers for $10.5 million in revenue

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

( – St. Charles city schools are facing money problems. To fight the budget gap, the district plans to introduce two propositions for the ballot in April.

Proposition S is a $7.5 million bond issue.

Proposition L is a tax hike that would generate about another $3 million.

The district says the bulk of the money from the bond issue would go to upgrade security at the various schools; expanding video surveillance and providing key card access at all the school buildings.

“They are safe now but we need to make them safer,” said St. Charles School Board President Dale Hellemeier. “We have 13, 14 buildings in our school district at various ages and we need to keep up to keep them safe.”

The money would also be used to upgrade the schools’ heating and cooling systems.

The money resulting from the passage of Prop L would go to teacher salaries.

The district currently has the fourth lowest starting salary of the five districts in St. Charles County.

The average home in St. Charles is about $150,000. The Prop L increase of .35 cents per $100 assessed value would be $8.31 a month or a little less than $100.

“We’ve been struggling over last several years with the economy,” said St. Charles Superintendent Dr. Jeff Marion.

He added the district has cut more than $8 million from its budget over the past five or six years and has run out of places to cut.

About a year ago, officials started thinking seriously about turning to the voters.

“At this point, if we’re going to continue to meet the needs of students, [we] need additional funding to do that,” said Marion.

“We have not gotten a voter approved tax hike since 1998,” added Hellemeier.

Voters will decide on April 8th.

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