Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Defeat of School Tax Hike Laid to Cold Weather, Low Turnout

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Defeat of School Tax Hike Laid to Cold Weather, Low Turnout

Article excerpt

Fort Zumwalt School Superintendent Bernard J. DuBray blamed cold weather and a low turnout at the polls Tuesday for defeating a tax increase.

The 52-cent tax increase would have raised the property tax rate to $4.61 for each $100 assessed valuation, failed with a vote of 1,493 to 2,255.

School officials haven't decided yet if they will resubmit the issue to the voters or ask for another sort of tax increase.

"The bad weather just really held down the turnout," said DuBray. "Only 10 percent of the registered voters turned out. Usually, it is 30 percent." Some voters were also confused by the ballot language, which is dictated by state law, he said.

While there was no organized opposition, School Board member Doyle Stokes had spoken out against the measure. On Wednesday, he said, "The voters said what they wanted to say. They are tired of the taxes and the way that it was being rushed through. People told me it should have been in April. They felt spending about $38,000 for a special election was too much money."

School officials will now look at the budget, said DuBray, "and see what we can do. We're going to have 700 more students, and we've got to have spaces for the kids. We will see if there are ways we can move ahead" if there is no additional revenue.

The issue will be taken to the School Board again with the thought of resubmitting the measure to the voters when the weather is more favorable, possibly in June or August. Passage then would still allow the additional taxes to be collected for 1995.

The school district's two options are "to see if we can move ahead with existing funds" and to review resubmitting the rollback request "because we need the money next year," the superintendent said.

The board will discuss the matter at its next meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 21, at the district administrative offices, by which time certified precinct-by-precinct results should be available. …

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