St. Charles school district proposing tax hike -

St. Charles school district proposing tax hike

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By Daniel Fredman By Daniel Fredman

ST. CHARLES, Mo.( -- A St. Charles County school district is turning to voters for more money. 

The Fort Zumwalt School District is asking voters to approve a 48 cent property tax increase after the school superintendent reported that the district is running a $3 million deficit. 

Dr. Bernard Dubray, Superintend for the Fort Zumwalt School District, says the district also needs money to attract and keep teachers, increase staffing and hire more specialty teachers with an emphasis on technology. 

The district says its average teacher salary is the lowest in St. Charles County. 

With more than 18,000 students, Fort Zumwalt is one of the largest school districts in Missouri. 

The superintendent says the financial problems were years in the making, going as far back as the 2008 recession. 

"We lost $180 million in assessed valuation with the property drops due to the recession."

With the proposed tax increase, a home worth $200,000 would see an annual increase of $182. 

Despite the school district's needs, a tax hike may be a tough sell. 

Dubray says the district has to get the budget balanced and stay competitive in attracting teachers. 

"Good schools go hand-in-hand with good communities," said Dubray. "If property values are going to stay up we have to have as good a school district as anybody else in the county or you're going to see those property values start to slip." 

Dubray says the district will lose teachers through attrition if the tax proposal doesn't pass, increasing classroom sizes within the district. 

The vote for the proposed tax hike will take place on April 7.

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