The Ladue School Board voted without opposition Monday to place a 49-cent tax levy increase on the April ballot.
After months of discussions, the board voted Left unfinished was choosing the date of the public vote, as well as a one-letter name for the proposition. The board voted unanimously to hold the election on April 3, 2012 and to call the measure ‘Proposition 1.’
Jason Buckner, the district’s assistant superintendent for business and finance, said the administration had considered holding the vote on the tax levy in February as a show of respect to staff who could be affected if the measure doesn’t pass.
“At first we thought – mainly because in respect to our staff if we have to do cutbacks – that it would behoove us to go out in February, so we would know the answers and we could start preparing for actions that would have to be taken to build the 2012-2013 budget with approximately $2 million to $2.5 million in reductions,” Buckner said.
But one of the reasons for shifting to April, Buckner said, was that the presidential primary election will be held on the February election date.
“Basically, it’s going to bring out a voting clientele that may quite honestly oppose more than support the action. So we think it would be more positive for the district to look at an April election.”
While President Barack Obama is expected to be the only major Democratic candidate in his party’s primary, . Therefore, it is likely that more Republicans will come out and vote in the primary than Democrats.
As of today, . That will be decided at caucuses scheduled for later this year.
Buckner also said “there is some feeling that April would be better than February because maybe it looks like we’re trying to put it on an election date that’s normal.”
“We’ve been working on this as you know for three or four months very vocally,” Buckner said. “But there is that out there, that’s what you’re referring to.”
Board Member Audrey Mack said that while she would want to push the ballot measure out in February to give “notice to teachers and having us know where we’re going to be,” she agreed with Buckner in having the vote in April.
“April is school board elections, that’s when people are used to it,” Mack said. “We’ve been criticized for not doing that in the past. So, I think it’s better to do what we can to get this passed than to try and get it passed early.”
Buckner also noted that it was possible to hold the election in August, but such a move wasn’t recommended. Board Member Ken Smith said passing a budget in June would be nearly impossible without knowing what was happening with the tax initiative.
TUITION INCREASE FOR LECC?
The board also discussed raising the tuition for the district’s Early Childhood programs for the 2012-13 school year. Donna Jahnke, an assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, wrote in a memo to the board that the increases “reflects the addition of student contact days for each preschool offering at the LECC.”
“Therefore, increased cost comes with increased service,” Jahnke wrote. “The LECC has traditionally started two weeks after our K-12 program. For the coming school year, we have added days in an effort to expand LECC student contact days so that our preschool calendar more closely reflects the district calendar.”
Mack said that if tuition continues to rise, it will make it more difficult for families to afford to utilize the program.
“When my child was in preschool, we didn’t do all-day, five-day preschool because we couldn’t afford it. And it’s not even close to the amount it is now,” Mack said. “I am concerned that we are moving farther away from the goal of universal preschool, leaving more and more kids behind. And with , I think it is a shame that we would not be able to include more children.”
No action was taken Monday on the tuition proposal.