What Happens if Prop B Doesn't Pass?
If Prop B does not pass, Bayless Schools will continue making deeper and more painful cuts to the school budget. But unlike our previous cuts, these new cuts will begin to more directly affect students in the classroom.
Once cuts begin to affect our educational programs, it will become increasingly more difficult to meet ever- increasing State and Federal educational mandates. Failure to meet State and Federal educational benchmarks may eventually result in our schools becoming unaccredited. If Bayless School District should become unaccredited for two years, the State can then take over and decide the fate of our district.
Despite the fact Bayless School District has been Accredited with Distinction in each of the past two years with a perfect score of “14 out of 14” on the State’s Annual Performance Report, once the District begins demonstrating an inability to provide for its students either educational, financially or both, the un-accreditation process for Bayless School District could happen in as little as three years. But however long loss of accreditation might take, those years would be very difficult ones for our schools, our children and our property values.
As was shared on the Facts page, Bayless has cut well over $1 million in operating expenses over the past three years while State funding has declined. We have already cut certified, non-certified, and administrative positions, busing, and virtually eliminated district spending on instructional field trips.
The State of Missouri requires that our Board balance its budget each year. In anticipation for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year, the Bayless Board of Education may likely have to cut its budget by over another $1 million. Without new revenue generated from our Proposition B, the Board will be forced to make cuts that may include the following:
Cutting additional certified teaching positions (beyond right-sizing) which means significant increases in class sizes.
Cutting additional support staff like secretaries, teacher aides, library aides, cafeteria aides and maintenance employees.
Cutting additional district and building administrative positions.
Cutting extra-curricular programs like sports, theater productions, student clubs and organizations.
Eliminating or reducing student services like health, counseling or social work.
Further reducing custodial services.
Reducing or eliminating technology repair and replacement cycles.
Further reducing staff professional development.
These cuts will be deep and painful, and unfortunately will have an effect on our core educational programming. These cuts may also impact our accreditation with the State. Without additional sources of revenue, Bayless will likely be placed in the “Financially Distressed” category by the State and that may ultimately lead to becoming an unaccredited district.
Loss of Independence and Local Control
Under Missouri law, if a school district is unaccredited for a period of two years, the State may take over the district. At that point, the State may attach any such district to another school district, or divide the district among other school districts. See, RSMo. 162.081. Upon doing so, residents would assume the local property tax rate of whichever district to which they are attached. If this were to happen to us, Bayless residents would have little choice in which school district gets their child or property.
Of our neighboring districts, St. Louis City Public Schools, Mehlville, Hancock and Affton, arguably none would provide the level of service and responsiveness to our Bayless residents and students that they already enjoy. Also, the costs of being attached to a neighboring district would be high. For example, Affton residents pay nearly $2.00 more in taxes than Bayless residents. Mehlville and Hancock are both having financial difficulties similar to ours. Attaching to another district having financial difficulty would not make sense as further, significant tax increases would be needed.
Unlike our other neighbors who are having financial troubles, St. Louis City Schools have more money to spend on their students in comparison to Bayless and they have well financed facilities. But City schools have been plagued by poor achievement and inconsistent leadership. In many ways districts like Bayless can be seen as a perfect solution for helping the St. Louis City Schools. Bayless is high achieving – a perfect 14/14 on State Performance Reviews. We do more for our students with less money than any other district in St. Louis County. Attaching Bayless management to City resources is something that may not only be attractive to some outsiders, but was recently done in Kansas City.
Bayless Schools know your students and we know and appreciate how hard our community works. We also work hard to be good stewards of your investment in our students. There is no simple solution the financial problems we face. But, not acting may be very costly. We need your help.