Jul 09, 2024

Proposition S on August ballot would boost salary for all SJSD staff

Posted Jul 09, 2024 1:57 AM
Stock photo.
Stock photo.


St. Joseph Post

A proposition on the August ballot is asking St. Joseph voters to approve a salary increase for teachers and staff at the St. Joseph School District.

Proposition 'S' has been added to the August 6 ballot. If approved, a $0.59 property tax levy increase per $100 of assessed value would raise salaries by more than $2,700 for all school district staff.

Kevin Kelly, CEO of LifeLine Foods and Proposition 'S' campaign co-chair, says St. Joseph lags behind its peers in teacher salary.

"Without a good school district, a town doesn't have as much of an ability to attract families and good workers to it," Kelly told KFEQ Radio. "There's no question St. Joseph School District has been behind the 8-ball for a number of years. It starts and stops with teachers. If you don't have good teachers, and attract and retain them, you don't have a good school district."

A 'yes' vote on Proposition 'S' would waive the Proposition 'C' rollback and allow for a raise in taxes.

Of the 518 school districts in Missouri, St. Joseph School District is one of just 26 districts in the state with no Prop C waiver.

The Prop C rollback, passed in 1982, supplemented school funds by an additional one cent on dollar sales taxes. It also reduced property taxes for schools by one-half of the additional sales tax revenue received by schools, unless residents voted to waive the rollback.

Kelly says the district is hurting by not having a competitive salary for its employees.

"We've suffered by not generating the revenue we need for a quality school district," Kelly said. "This Prop S then enacts that (Prop C) waiver and we're allowed to have a levy rate that is for teachers and for investment in the community, and we'll have a competitive wage rate for our staff and teachers."

Kelly reiterates the salary increase would be the same across the board for all employees in the school district.

"This Proposition S is all about paying them the wages that's very fair," he said. "It's a flat fee, $2,750, that's being paid to every employee. Obviously, on a percentage basis, the lower wage people absolutely benefit more on a percentage than the higher wage people, and it's intended that way."

"We're trying to lift all boats and this Proposition S will do that."

The state of Missouri already lags behind in teacher salary, ranking dead last in the country in average starting salary for teachers at $36,829 annually, per the National Education Association.

Kelly notes St. Joseph voters are at times wary of voting for a tax increase, but he’s confident Proposition S will pass, seeing as it would directly benefit educators in the community.

"We've had opposition at time in St. Joseph to tax increases and I understand that," Kelly pointed out. "But, the fact of the matter is, very few times has it ever come out against teachers."

"The general population, they recognize that we need to pay a living and quality wage. Therefore, I'm very optimistic people will hold to their word and vote yes on Proposition S."

You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.