April 2024 Ballot FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

How will this proposal appear on the ballot?

Ballot Question with Explanation

Why is the District Requesting This Change?

The Board of Education voted in December 2023 to place this proposal on the April 2024 ballot to address the priority of attracting and retaining high quality staff. This has been an identified priority of our District’s stakeholders as shown in the table below of our “Stakeholder Requirements Survey,” conducted every five years.

Table of answers from Stakeholder Requirements Survey

What is Proposition C?

The Missouri School and Highway Tax Proposition, also known as Proposition C, was on the November 2, 1982 ballot in Missouri as an initiated state statute, where it was approved. The measure supplemented school and highway funds by an additional one cent on dollar sales and use taxes. The measure also reduced property taxes for schools by one half of the additional sales tax revenue received by schools unless local residents voted to waive the required rollback.

What is a Full Proposition C Waiver?

A Proposition C Waiver is an approval by local voters to waive the rollback applied to their operating tax levy. Of the 518 school districts in Missouri, 468 (91%) have fully waived and 24 have partially waived their Proposition C rollback. Platte County School District is one of 26 districts with no waiver.

What Makes Up our Tax Rate and How Would it Change?

The District’s total tax rate consists of four rates; one for each of the District’s funds. Under Missouri law, tax dollars collected in each fund can only be used for the purposes of that fund. 

  • Funds 1 & 2 (Incidental and Teachers Fund) provide resources for the daily operations of the district, including payment of salaries and benefits for employees, student transportation, curriculum resources, utilities, insurance, student activities, and other general operating costs.
  • Fund 3 (Debt Service) provides funding to pay interest and principal on the District’s debt (bond issues).
  • Fund 4 (Capital Projects) provides funding to maintain and refresh the District’s facilities and equipment.

The total of these funds results in a total tax rate of $5.0193.
Tax Levy fund buckets illustration
If voters approve the Prop C Waiver and Levy Transfer, the tax rate by fund would change, but the total tax levy would remain unchanged.

Tax Levy fund buckets illustration if question passes

How will the funds be specifically used?

The funds from the Prop C waiver and levy transfer will be used to enhance salaries and benefits as well as to enhance safety and security measures throughout the district as identified in our safety and security plan, including increasing school resource officers. The District is completing a compensation and job classification study and will be using the study data to make adjustments to areas where PCR-3 is below our market area “median.” Additional funds will be used to add overall compensation/benefit increases for all staff. 

 

How competitive is Platte County School District in regards to teacher salaries?

Each year, PCR-3’s Human Resources Department gathers salary information from 15 local districts (Local 15) to identify our competitive placement in the marketplace with which we compete for quality staff. This information is gathered from Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), district salary schedules, district websites, and internal contacts within various Human Resource Departments. Of these 15 school districts, we compete for employees most regularly with Kearney, Liberty, North Kansas City, Park Hill, and Smithville. With PCR-3, we refer to these school districts as the “Northland 6.”

 

The table below shows PCR-3’s ranking of our teacher salary schedule compared to the local 15 school districts. Numbers in red indicate regression, numbers in green represent progress, and black numbers show no change in rank from the previous year. For the 2023-24 school year, PCR-3’s teacher starting salary (minimum bachelor's degree) ranks 10th out of the local 15; a teacher with a bachelor’s degree +24 hours toward a master’s degree ranks 15th out of the local 15. Source: District websites from Local 15 school districts on September 29, 2023.

 

PCR-3 Teacher Salary Ranking
Salary Schedule Location 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Bachelors Minimum  14th  14th 14th 9th 10th
Bachelors Maximum  15th 15th 15th 14th 15th
Masters Minimum  11th 11th 10th 5th 5th
Masters Maximum
10th 10th 10th 9th 10th
Specialist Minimum 4th 7th 6th 5th 3rd
Specialist Maximum 7th 9th 10th 5th 4th

 

The table below shows average teacher salary rankings of the Local 15 districts with the Northland 6 highlighted. Average salary is driven by years of experience, salary schedule placement, and educational attainment, which vary by district. Source: Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)

 

Area Average Teacher Salary Rankings

Why does the district need voter approval to waive Prop C and transfer funds?
School financing is broken down into four fund categories. Each fund category can only be used for specific items under Missouri law and voter approval is required to waive Proposition C. Currently, the tax rate associated with PCR-3’s Debt Service fund is more than necessary thanks to aggressively paying down the debt, higher assessed valuations, and taking advantage of strategic refinancing opportunities.

What is the timeline for implementation?

If passed by voters, the operating levy would increase by $0.35 starting in tax year 2024 with a corresponding reduction in the debt service levy. This transfer would generate additional funds to better attract and retain quality staff, and enhance safety and security.

Where does our tax levy currently rank compared to other districts? Where will it rank if this question passes?

The District tax levy is $5.0193, in the lower half of area districts, as shown in the graphic below. The total tax levy rate is composed of $3.1124 for incidental/operating, $1.5289 for debt service and $0.3780 for capital projects. This rate is applied to $100 of assessed valuation. Source: DESE. As this is a no tax levy increase bond issue, Platte County School District tax levy will remain the same if this issue passes.

 

Tax Levy by District Table

What is Platte County School District’s tax rate history?

The district’s total tax rate has remained unchanged since 2019, when it was lowered from $5.0439 to $5.0193. The district’s tax rate history since 2018 is shown in the table below.

PCR-3 Tax Levy History by Funds
Why do we no longer need as much money in Debt Service?

Lowering the debt service levy has been a part of a long-term strategy by the Board of Education to address Board goals while remaining fiscally responsible. This has been made possible because of strategic refinancing and advance payment of debt, as well as continued growth in assessed valuation over the past 10 years (see chart below). PCR-3 has had an average of 5.33% assessed valuation growth over the past 10 years. Lowering the District’s debt service levy will not change the terms or rates associated with previously issued debt. Because of forecasted increases in assessed valuation and responsible long range facility planning, the District will continue to have adequate funds to cover its existing debt and be positioned to implement its entire long range facility plan without a “tax rate” increase. Current voter approved long-term debt is scheduled to expire in 2041. 

 

PCR-3 Assessed Valuation History
Year Assessed Valuation (including abatement)  Percentage Growth
2012-13 $424,707,951.00 
2013-14  $431,840,980.00  1.68%
2014-15  $445,406,131.00  3.14%
2015-16 $463,633,614.00   4.09%
2016-17  $480,208,668.00  3.58%
2017-18 $533,631,962.00  11.13% 
2018-19  $554,855,093.00  3.98%
2019-20 $583,856,007.00
5.23% 
2020-21  $601,392,497.00 3.00% 
2021-22  $679,813,642.00  13.04%
2022-23  $710,210,714.00  4.47%

 

By reducing the debt service levy, does it extend the time required to repay or increase the amount of interest Platte County School District will pay on our current outstanding debt?

Current voter approved debt is scheduled to expire in 2041. By reducing the debt service levy, the District will be able to address identified Board of Education goals, including but not limited to, addressing staff compensation and retention without an overall tax rate increase. The reallocation of funds will not jeopardize the District’s ability to pay its current debt nor will it change the term or rates associated with current voter approved debt.

When you talk about strategic refinancing and advanced payment of the District’s debt, what does that mean?

The Platte County School District is proactive in looking to reduce its interest cost in the form of refundings or advanced payments if the interest rate environment is favorable to do so. PCR-3 has saved more than $6 million taxpayer dollars in refinancing since 2014. Here are recent examples:

 

  • 2014 General Obligation (GO) Refinancing Saved $441,221
  • 2016 GO Refinancing Saved $3,069,219
  • 2017 GO Refinancing Saved $2,086,220
  • 2021 Defeasance (bond prepayment) Saved $355,000
  • 2022 Lease Refinancing Saved $247,305

“Refunding” of school district bonds is similar to a homeowner’s refinancing of a mortgage. Since 2014, the District has saved more than $6,000,000. This includes savings from refunding as well as prepayment of bonds. In addition to these efforts, approximately 60% of the District’s debt (General Obligation and Leasehold Revenue principal and interest) is scheduled to retire in the next 10 years.

When is the election?

The election is April 2, 2024.

 

How do I register to vote?

Patrons may register to vote at the Board of Elections office or at any PCR-3 building. Persons can also register by mail through www.sos.mo.gov/elections/goVoteMissouri/register.aspx.

 

When is the last day to register to vote?

The deadline to register for the April 2, 2024 election is March 6, 2024.

 

Where do I vote on April 6?

Your voter registration card will indicate your polling location. You may also visit the Missouri Voter Outreach to find your polling location.

 

What else is on the ballot?

Platte County School District Board of Education Member elections are held each April at the General Municipal Election. There are two, 3-year terms to be elected.

 

What happens if the question doesn't pass?

The ability to attract and retain high quality staff by providing competitive salaries and benefits would be impacted. The District will continue to engage our Board of Education to analyze operational needs and financial priorities from an educational, financial, and operational perspective to determine next steps.