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Moniteau proposes 4-mill tax increase

CHERRY TWP — Moniteau School District’s $23.6 million preliminary budget, approved 6-3 at a school board meeting Monday, May 20, includes a proposed tax increase of 4 mills.

After a discussion, board directors decided to lower the proposed tax increase from the planned 6 mills to 4. Board president Michael Panza urged administrators to find ways to further reduce the 4-mill increase.

Panza initially mentioned lowering the millage from 6 to 5 mills on Monday, until board director Travis Beachem proposed reducing it further to 4 mills.

The decision to raise taxes for the 2024-25 school year comes as the district faces a deficit. Budget expenditures number $25,393,564.

To offset the deficit, the district is dipping into its fund balance for $1,386,603.

Panza told the school board and members of the public Monday evening that expenses in the past year have included parking lot and sidewalk renovations, as well as purchases of a band uniforms and a truck.

Similar to other school districts, Moniteau is also seeing high costs associated with health insurance premiums. The 19.68% increase in health care costs equate to almost a half-million dollars, Panza said.

If finalized as presented in June, the budget would raise the millage rate from 97.38 to 101.38.

For the average homeowner, the increase would amount to about $62 more per year, business manager Austin Blauser said after the meeting.

By contrast, the increase would amount to only $2.26 more per year for homesteads and farmsteads approved by the state under a homestead tax exemption, Panza and Blauser said.

Last year, the district raised taxes by 3.50 mills. The cost of fuel and salaries, as well as the associated costs with charter and cyberschools, were previously named as contributing factors to the 2023-24 tax increase.

Assistant principal hired

Board directors also approved the hiring of Kimberly McBryar as high school assistant principal pending documentation. McBryar’s start date has yet to be determined. She will start the role at a salary of $80,000.

Previously, McBryar worked as a teacher at Dassa McKinney Elementary School and reading specialist. Her time in the district spans over 18 years.

This story was updated at 3:05 p.m., May 23, to reflect Moniteau’s proposed tax increase of $62 per year for the average homeowner. A previous version of this story incorrectly said the tax increase would amount to $62 per month.

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