NEW: Mehlville Board of Education places 88-cent tax-rate increase on ballot

Mehlville School District voters will consider an 88-cent tax-rate increase in the November election.

The Board of Education voted 6-0 Thursday night to place the 88-cent tax-rate increase on the Nov. 2 ballot. Board Vice President Venki Palamand was absent.

The proposal — Proposition C — is designed to fund the first phase of recommendations outlined in the district’s long-range improvement plan, COMPASS II — Charting the Oakville-Mehlville Path to Advance Successful Schools.

COMPASS II’s first phase contains roughly $106 million in proposals designed to make Mehlville a high-performing school district. Those include roughly $98 million in capital recommendations — such as the construction of a new Margaret Buerkle Middle School — and roughly $8 million in operational recommendations — such as funding for all-day kindergarten.

The COMPASS II recommendations were crafted during six community-engagement sessions that drew more than 1,200 participants. At the final community-engagement session in May, nearly 400 participants overwhelmingly recommended the board pursue a 94-cent tax-rate increase, which was the amount needed to fund the more than $107 million in an earlier version of the COMPASS II plan.

However, Superintendent Terry Noble recently told the board two COMPASS II recommendations could be put on hold for future phases — elementary school foreign language and middle school eight-period days — which would reduce the tax-rate increase needed to 88 cents.

District voters will be asked Nov. 2 if the operating tax levy should be increased by 88 cents, “with up to 40 cents of the increase being used to pay capital expenditures, including without limitation costs to construct, renovate, repair, improve, furnish and equip school facilities and sites, and update computers and technology, and with the remainder of the increase being used to fund competitive salaries and benefits to attract and retain highly-qualified classroom teachers and staff, expand kindergarten to full-days and to pay other increased school operating costs?”

Read the full story in next week’s Call.