FAQ

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April 3, 2018 Proposition R-P 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Raymore-Peculiar School District requesting on the April 3, 2018 ballot?  

Ray-Pec is requesting voters to increase the operating tax rate for the District by 75 cents.  At the same time, the debt service tax rate is scheduled to decrease by 30 cents, resulting in a net tax rate increase of 45 cents.

Why can the debt service rate be reduced by 30 cents, especially given that a $27 million bond issue was approved in 2016?  

Several factors have combined to allow the debt service levy to be lowered by 30 cents.

  • First, the Board and Administration have taken action to refinance most of the existing bond debt at or near historically low interest rates.
  • Secondly, the relatively modest enrollment growth rates since the housing recession have allowed the District time to pay off much of the existing debt from a previous growth phase.
  • Thirdly, recent increases in property values allows for a lower rate to pay existing debt payments.

When was the last time the Ray-Pec tax rate increased?  

The last voter-approved tax rate increase for Ray-Pec was in 2003. The operating levy was increased by 60 cents at that time, resulting in a total levy of $5.0397 per $100 of assessed value. That rate remained in place until 2017, when an increase in property values caused the operating levy to decrease by more than 12 cents, resulting in the current total levy of $4.9122.

What are the primary reasons for this requested tax rate increase?

 A group of community stakeholders helped develop an updated strategic plan for the District in the fall of 2017. The focus areas of this plan include Success Ready Students, High Quality Staff, and Financial Responsibility. 

Many of the strategies and action steps within the plan can be accomplished with existing resources, but some will require additional resources. Funds are needed to support additional curriculum/program opportunities for students, more supports to meet student needs, competitive compensation for staff, and greater investments in facility maintenance to name a few of the higher priorities. For more information: Strategic Plan

Why is the request being made at this time?  

Ray-Pec has performed at a fairly high level for several years with the current resources available. However, expectations for student opportunities and supports continue to increase along with greater competition for high quality staff. This is also the first time in many years that the debt service levy can be lowered to help offset an increase in the operating tax levy.

How does the Ray-Pec tax rate compare to other metro districts? 

Ray-Pec has one of the lowest tax rates among KC metro districts. Even if voters approve the proposed rate increase, the resulting Ray-Pec tax rate will be in the bottom third of KC metro districts. The most recent rates for KC metro districts are listed in the following table, many of which Ray-Pec competes with to recruit and retain high quality staff:

Total Tax Levy by KC Metro School District 2017-18 (2017 Tax Year)
District
Operating
Debt Service
Total tax rate
Center
$5.6147
$0.9000
$6.5147
Liberty
$5.1543
$1.3007
$6.4550
North Kansas City
$5.1380
$1.2900
$6.4280
Fort Osage
$5.0943
$1.2757
$6.3700
Raytown
$4.9996
$1.3204
$6.3200
Hickman Mills
$5.1232
$1.1000
$6.2232
Lee's Summit
$4.8077
$1.0700
$5.8777
Independence
$4.5580
$1.2430
$5.8010
Blue Springs
$4.4097
$1.3189
$5.7286
Grandview
$4.8094
$0.8000
$5.6094
Belton
$3.8930
$1.5390
$5.4320
Grain Valley
$3.7255
$1.7000
$5.4255
Park Hill
$4.7928
$0.6107
$5.4035
Kearney
$4.1604
$1.1902
$5.3506
Smithville
$4.1613
$1.0467
$5.2080
Harrisonville
$4.0207
$1.0565
$5.0772
Platte County
$3.8536
$1.1903
$5.0439
Ray-Pec
$3.5739
$1.3383
$4.9122
Oak Grove
$3.7126
$1.1162
$4.8288
Pleasant Hill
$3.7231
$1.0114
$4.7345


How much will this tax increase cost the typical homeowner?

The median home value in the Ray-Pec community is approximately $190,000. A net tax rate increase of 45 cents will cost that property owner approximately $162.45 per year ($13.54 per month or 45 cents per day). To see how the increase might affect your property taxes, please utilize the tax calculator at the following link: Tax Calculator

How are property taxes calculated?  

Market values are established by the county assessor. Residential property is assessed at 19% of market value. Other types of property have different assessment rates established by state law as follows: personal (331/3%), commercial (32%), and agricultural (12%). The general formula to calculate residential property taxes is as follows:   

Market Value of Home
X 0.19 (residential assessment rate = 19%) = Assessed Value
Assessed Value ÷ 100 (tax rate is per $100 assessed value)
X $0.45 (proposed net rate increase)
= Additional Taxes (per year)


How will the money be used if approved?  

As mentioned previously, the funds will be utilized to support the key strategies identified in the recently approved Strategic Plan. The same Strategic Plan is utilized to guide budget development from year to year. While a wide range of variables can impact the use of funds over time, a general approach to using the additional funds can be found in the following chart:

Focus Area
Strategy Area within
2018-2022 Strategic Plan
Approximate Use in Cents of New Levy


Success Ready Students
Incorporate additional real-world, hands-on learning opportunities and promote soft skill development
3.5
Expand STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) opportunities for all students
4.0
Expand mental health supports for students and staff
4.0
Reduce gaps in achievement through additional interventions and supports for students
3.5
High Quality Staff
Establish a market-competitive salary & benefit plan
40.0
Ensure appropriate class sizes and caseloads

3.0
Support the ongoing pursuit of job-related training and advanced degrees
2.0
Financial Responsibility
Invest additional resources in ongoing facility maintenance and upkeep
15.0

TOTAL
75.0


Increases in administrative spending vs. instructional spending

A recent statewide study by the Missouri State Auditor was critical of school districts for increasing administrative spending faster than instructional spending. Is that true of Ray-Pec?  No!

The study indicated that between 2011-12 and 2015-16, Missouri schools on average increased administrative expenses per student by 14% while instructional expenses increased by only 8.7% per student. The trend was exactly the opposite at Ray-Pec during that same time frame, in which administrative expenditures increased by only 8.8% per student, while instructional expenditures went up 19.2% per student. According to that same State Auditor report, Ray-Pec had the lowest administration-related spending per student of any KC Metro district in 2015-16. Link to audit report:  State Audit Report December 2017 (See pages 38-39 of report.)

How does Ray-Pec's administrative staffing levels compare to other districts?

On average statewide, school districts have 184 students per administrator. Ray-Pec has 224 students per administrator, indicating a lower than average proportion of administrators. 

How do Ray-Pec teacher salaries compare to other districts in the area?  

Among the top 10 performing KC metro districts, Ray-Pec teacher salaries are consistency in the lower third and less than state average. Salaries for support staff and administrators are also consistently in the lower third of those top 10 districts.

What is required for approval? 

A simple majority approval of 50 percent plus one vote is required for an operating levy increase.

What was the most recent ballot issue?

Voters approved a no-tax-rate-increase bond issue in April 2016. Those funds could only be used for facility improvements and the related debt is paid through the debt service levy rather than the operating levy.

How much revenue does one cent of levy generate?

Based on current assessed valuation levels, one cent of levy generates approximately $55,000 in annual revenue.

What is the last day to register to vote?

The last day to register for the April 3 election is March 7.  Voter Registration information

When would the new tax rate go into effect?

The new tax rate would be effective for property tax bills due Dec. 31, 2018. If approved, the District would receive the funds during the 2018-19 school year.