FAQ - Proposition Lebanon Schools

Through our FAQ page, we hope to provide answers to common questions regarding Proposition Lebanon Schools. 

Proposition Lebanon Schools Informational Flyer

Financial Facts & Levy Breakdown

What is the proposed levy amount, and how will it be phased in?

The Lebanon School Board has set the proposed operating levy increase at $.90 per $100 of assessed valuation for the August 7 ballot. The Board has chosen to use $.30 increments to phase in the increase over three years, if approved by Lebanon School District voters. District taxpayers would see a $.30 increase in 2018, a $.30 increase in 2019, and the final $.30 increase in 2020.

For the average home value of $100,000 in Lebanon, this will be a monthly increase of $4.75 a month over the first year (based on the average assessed value). The increase in year two would be an additional $4.75 per month, totaling $9.50 per month. Year three's increase would add $4.75 per month, totaling $14.25 per month.

What will an increase in operating levy funds provide for kids?

  • Operating levy funds are used for day-to-day business expenses – ”paying the bills” (i.e. paying employees, fueling buses, purchasing instructional materials for the classroom, and paying utilities)
  • Personalized and future focused experiences for our kids
  • ​Recruiting and retaining the best staff for our kids
  • Newer, safer buses for our kids
  • Safe and functional buildings for our kids

You can read more about Our Plan here.

What is the difference between an operating levy and a debt service levy?

  • Debt service levy (bond issue) funds can only be used for brick and mortar "capital" projects​
  • Operating levy funds are used for day-to-day District operating expenses including educating students, paying staff, providing transportation, paying for utilities, and maintaining the District’s buildings and grounds.

What is our current operating levy, and how do we compare to other school districts?

The Lebanon School District operates at the state minimum operating levy of $2.75. Out of 516 public school districts in Missouri, 61 have the minimum levy of $2.75. Lebanon is one of only three Districts of 3,000+ students that operate on the minimum. The state average operating levy is $3.67. The state average for districts with 3,000+ students is currently $4.00.

What would our operating levy be if Proposition Lebanon Schools passes?

If the proposed operating levy passes on August 7, the Lebanon School District operating levy would be $3.65, still below the state average of $3.67.

When did the School Board start talking about the need for additional local revenue?

The Lebanon School Board first started discussing the need for increased local funding in January of 2017. The District’s critical financial needs have been shared in presentations at Board meetings as well as to staff and community groups. The District ran levy proposals in 1987, 1989, and 1991, none of which passed. Over the past 27+ years, the District’s financial needs have grown as costs have risen.

Why is additional funding needed?

  • Our tax rate is the lowest in the state. Out of over 500 school districts in Missouri, there are only 61 other districts in the state with the state minimum tax levy of $2.75. Only 2 of those are of similar size to Lebanon and operate at a $2.75 levy.
  • We have not found record of a voter approved tax levy increase in Lebanon.
  • We are underfunded by $1.5 million by the state of Missouri each year for transportation. That is money we have to make up locally to provide safe transportation for students.
  • The District has budgeted very conservatively for decades.  Funds were needed at the time of the 1991 tax levy proposal failure and those needs have continued to go unmet.
  • Pay for all District employees falls behind other school districts and industries, and each year the District loses a significant number high quality employees due to pay.   
  • Critical facility needs including roofing, HVAC units, parking lots and doors have grown due to limited resources, inability to address needs, and increasing costs.

​What area of Laclede County will vote on Proposition Lebanon Schools?

Only those who live in and are registered to vote in the Lebanon School District will be eligible to vote on the proposed operating levy. Each school district has their own operating levy.

What is the status of leftover debt service levy (2014 LMS bond) funds, and what is the status of the Maplecrest gym project?

Due to careful planning and construction management, the Middle School project came in approximately $5.8 million under budget. Maplecrest remains the next priority on the R3-10 Facilities Master Plan. With the remaining $5.8 million in 2014 bond funds available, the possibility of moving forward early with the Maplecrest project was pursued. Patron input was gathered and there was strong support for utilizing the remaining bond funds for Maplecrest. The Maplecrest project is planned to include a new FEMA rated storm shelter multi-purpose gymnasium. Currently, Maplecrest does not have a gymnasium to accommodate an assembly of all students. The District applied for FEMA funding to help finance this project, but at this point, the Maplecrest gym has not been selected for funding from FEMA. The remaining 2014 bond funds are not enough to complete the Maplecrest project without a FEMA grant or other additional funding. In light of critical facility needs across the District, approximately $2 million of the remaining bond funds will be used to fix some of the most critical roofs, HVAC systems, parking lots, and food storage facilities over the summer and fall of 2018. Maplecrest will continue to be the next scheduled project completed on the R3-10 plan as soon as the necessary funding becomes available. Approximately $3.8 million in 2014 bonds have been designated for the storm shelter multi-purpose gymnasium at Maplecrest. Funds produced by the April 2014 LMS Bond/Levy election cannot be used for operational or “day to day” expenses.

Why did Central Office move to the old Commerce Bank location?

District administrative offices were located in leased space next to the Munger Moss Motel on Rt. 66. The annual lease on the office space was $26,142. The original plan when the Middle School was built was to retrofit the old Junior High for district administrative offices.  ​However, the opportunity to purchase the Commerce Bank building came up after the 2014 bond issue was approved. Estimates by architects to retrofit the old Junior High for office space were over $500,000. The purchase price on the Commerce Bank building was $231,153, which was approximately 50% of the appraised value. The cost of retrofitting the bank building​ was $75,035.​ The School Board decided it made better financial sense to save nearly $200,000 by purchasing the Commerce Bank building, gaining a facility with much lower utility and on-going maintenance expenses in the years ahead. The School Board is seeking proposals for the sale of the Rainey and Wallace Buildings on the old Junior High campus. The Luthy Fieldhouse continues to be used for District activities.

What’s going to happen to the old Junior High?

The School Board is seeking proposals for the sale of the Rainey and Wallace Buildings on the old Junior High campus. The Luthy Fieldhouse continues to be used for District activities.

Will taxes go down when the bonds for Esther Elementary are paid off?

While the District will pay off the 2000 Esther Elementary bond issue in 2020, the District utilized every resource available in order to minimize the tax impact to constituents to build the Middle School. The District used an extension in the 47 cents that was being levied for Esther along with an additional 37 cents to pay the bonds that built the Middle School​. ​If the bond had not been extended another 20 years and the 47 cents was not used to pay the new debt, then the Middle School likely would have cost taxpayers twice the amount in terms of a tax increase. In other words, by utilizing every bit of revenue possible, the District was able to build the Middle School for 30 or 40 cents less than starting from scratch and creating a totally new and separate revenue stream. Every effort is being made to minimize the tax impact on taxpayers while addressing the operating and facilities needs of the District.

Contact Us

What can we help you with?

  • Central Office Phone: 417-657-6001
  • Central Office Fax: 417-532-9492

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