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More Than 1 in 5 School Dists. To Ask for Higher Taxes

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Voters across Missouri will head to the polls Tuesday and many of them will decide whether to raise local property taxes or let school districts borrow money.

Missouri's Department of Education says more than 1 of every 5 school districts in the state will have questions on the ballot.

State Education Commissioner Kent King says less money from the state is forcing many districts to ask local property taxpayers to make up the difference.

"School boards at local communities don't like to do this unless they feel they absolutely have to, so I think this reflects some pretty significant need in their view on the need for money for their kids," King said.

King says he's never seen so many school tax questions on the ballot in one election. He also says voters could send a message to lawmakers that some kind of state tax increase is needed.

"If local taxpayers really support these in significant numbers I think that probably will be reflected in minds of lawmakers that people really do support public education and maybe that will carry over into additional action on their part for the future."

Some local districts that will be asking for higher property taxes include Maplewood-Richmond Heights, Parkway, and University City in St. Louis County.

Meramec Valley and Hillsboro School Districts in Jefferson County will also ask for more money. Hillsboro's tax question is listed on the ballot as "Proposition Survival."