Mehlville voters approve 1st bond issue since ‘92

A series of bond issues in ‘90s failed to be approved

Students+at+Wohlwend+Elementary%2C+above%2C+held+up+thank-you+signs+for+Mehlville+School+District+voters+the+day+after+Mehlville%E2%80%99s+first+bond+issue+since+1992%2C+Proposition+S%2C+passed+April+6.+The+money+will+fund+a+new+secure+entry+at+all+schools.

Students at Wohlwend Elementary, above, held up thank-you signs for Mehlville School District voters the day after Mehlville’s first bond issue since 1992, Proposition S, passed April 6. The money will fund a new secure entry at all schools.

By Gloria Lloyd, News Editor

Voters approved the Mehlville School District’s Proposition S bond issue with more than 80 percent of the vote April 6, the first time Mehlville voters have passed a bond issue since 1992.

South County voters also approved Hancock Place School District’s Proposition R bond issue, which is also a no-tax-rate-increase bond.

Mehlville had been the only school district in St. Louis County without a bond issue to fund facilities. Proposition S, a 12-cent, $35 million bond issue, will use part of the funds left from paying off the lease approved by 2000’s Proposition P for facilities to fund secure vestibule entrances at all 18 of Mehlville’s schools, along with basic maintenance and accessibility at all schools. Proposition S stood for “Safe Schools, Safe Kids.”

The campaign committee supporting the ballot measure, the Mehlville-Oakville United Committee, posted on Facebook, “Prop S is a resounding victory with more than 80% of the vote. Our community came together for our schools and our kids. Voters, THANK YOU!”

After a bond issue passed in 1992, a series of bond issues failed in the 1990s, and then for decades the district never tried to pass a bond issue, which under Missouri state law requires a higher threshold for voter approval than the 50 percent plus one of most ballot propositions. Bond issues require a four-sevenths or 57-percent majority to pass. Prop P was a ballot measure for facilities but was structured as an operational tax-rate increase that would fund leases for facilities because the district didn’t believe they could get enough votes to pass a bond issue.

Unlike past ballot measures like 2015’s Proposition R, a 49-cent tax-rate increase also passed under Superintendent Chris Gaines to restore budget cuts and hire reading interventionists, there was no organized opposition to Proposition S.

The MOU committee commented in a later post on election night on the historic nature of passage of the bond issue: “History was made today in the Mehlville School District with over 80% of the voters supporting the no tax increase measure. When our district leaders lay out a clear plan on how the money will be spent, our community has always said yes.”

Forder Elementary students hold up thank-you signs to the community.

Through the school district’s Facebook page, the Mehlville Board of Education also posted a thank you to voters for approving the bond issue, which the school board unanimously voted in January to place on the April ballot. The original plan was to go to voters in November, but the board decided to delay until April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Mehlville Board of Education is grateful and humbled by your overwhelming approval of Proposition S,” the board posted on the district Facebook page, noting that there was higher turnout for Proposition S than in other April elections. “Thank you for supporting our schools. Your support for Prop S will make our facilities safer and more accessible for current students and generations of students that follow.”

Mehlville-Oakville United posted a series of videos in the weeks leading up to the election, including one featuring hockey legend Brett Hull from the website Cameo, where you can pay celebrities to give personalized messages. Hull says, “I’ve got a message for the residents of Mehlville School District. I heard you have a bond issue on the ballot April 6. Make it your goal to get out and vote for Prop S, we need you.”

The committee also posted a video montage of students in the district asking voters to vote “yes on S” for the children’s safety: “Vote yes on Prop S to keep me safe at school,” one boy says, the first in a series of children asking for the same thing.