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Proposition R

Thursday, June 10, 2021

What is Prop. R?

Proposition R is a proposed measure that would fund necessary updates to facilities and programs for St. Louis Community College and its students. The proposed rate increase, which would be the first rate increase in nearly 40 years, would also help the region rebuild the local economy following the COVID-19 pandemic by updating career training programs and facilities to support local job growth in critical industries including health care, information technology, financial services, biotechnology, and manufacturing.

If passed, Prop. R would:

  • Provide real-world learning environments where the technology in the classroom matches the tools students need in the workplace.
  • Focus on providing educational programs and services to the underserved and minority communities of the St. Louis region.
  • Repurpose underutilized space to meet the needs of today’s students (many of the College’s facilities were built more than 50 years ago) and create new and functional spaces.
  • Keep tuition low and affordable for students, as well as minimize student debt. At $116.50 per credit hour, the College strives to keep education affordable for unemployed or underemployed workers needing training and retraining for the high-wage careers of today.

If Prop R is passed, STLCC could make improvements to meet the needs of today's students and the communities we serve. The images that follow are conceptual renderings of the types of improvements that could be possible.

*Photos courtesy of Arcturis

Student Success Center enteryway
Student Success Center Interior
Connecting walkway
parking rendition
Student Success Center enteryway
Student Success Center Interior
Connecting walkway
parking rendition
“As the community looks ahead to growth and long-term economic development potential, investments in training opportunities and career paths for the next generation of our workforce is critical. This proposition will go a long way toward enabling job growth in important industries for our region including health care, information technology, biotechnology, and manufacturing. We are optimistic that voters will see the incredible value this proposition will bring to our region and look forward to sharing more about this proposal between now and Aug. 3.” - Craig Larson, STLCC Board Trustee

Aug. 3, 2021 Ballot Proposal

The St. Louis Community College Board of Trustees unanimously voted to place a proposed measure (Proposition R) on the Tuesday, Aug. 3 ballot to fund necessary updates to facilities and programs for the College and its students. The proposed rate increase – which would be the first in nearly 40 years – is an investment that will allow STLCC to better serve students and the St. Louis region.

Proposition R is a proposed eight-cent operating rate increase for STLCC. If approved by voters, the additional investment for the owner of a $150,000 home would be around $1.90 per month.

If approved by voters, the proposal would provide funding to:

  • Update career training programs and facilities to enable job growth in critical industries for the St. Louis region including health care, information technology, financial services, biotechnology, and manufacturing.
  • Provide real-world learning environments where the technology in the classroom matches the tools students will use in the workplace.
  • Expand up-to-date best practices in job training and retraining that will contribute to career development opportunities for students and employers in the region.
  • Renovate existing facilities to repurpose underutilized space to meet the needs of today’s students.
  • Continue to provide safe and secure learning environments for students, employees, and the community.

General Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Funding from Prop. R would be used to update STLCC facilities and programs to help meet the demand for high-tech job training. Approximately $350 million in funds from Prop. R, which is an 8-cent operating rate increase, will be used to renovate and repurpose facilities and update technology to provide real-world learning experiences. The remaining funding will go toward updating job training and retraining programs to prepare students with skills needed in critical industries in our region, including healthcare, information technology, financial services, biotechnology and manufacturing.

Our region faces urgent economic challenges as we recover from the pandemic. Employers report their No. 1 barrier to growth is a shortage of skilled employees. From nurses to accountants to lab technicians and computer programmers, St. Louis faces significant shortages

for high-demand jobs now and in the coming decades. The College can help solve these workforce challenges, but only if we can invest in necessary improvements to our programs and facilities. Prop. R will provide funding to ensure the College has adequate facilities and programs to meet the need for these jobs. Despite a reduction of state funding since 2013, the College has continued to improve with limited available resources. However, the current budget will not allow the College to keep pace with essential facility and program enhancements.

More than 40% of the College’s funding comes from local property taxes. The maximum levy for the college is currently 22 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The current levy is set at just less than 20 cents due to the Hancock Amendment. Prop. R would raise the levy to approximately 28 cents.

The amount you contribute to the community college through the tax rate will vary depending on the value of your home. For example, a taxpayer whose home has an estimated market value of $150,000 will pay an additional $1.90 per month. For most homeowners, Prop. R would cost pennies a day.

The amount of revenue generated by Prop. R will vary each year depending on local property tax valuations, but it is estimated to generate approximately $24 million a year. The overall operating budget for the college, which is generated from local property taxes, state funding and tuition, is $160.7 million. The additional revenue will be used to fund approximately $350 million in new bonds that will be used to improve job training programs and update facilities and improve safety and security on the campuses.

The additional funding will be used to update career training programs and facilities. Current and future students will benefit from programs that prepare them for careers in critical industries. Prop. R will provide funds to improve safety, security and accessibility at all campuses. Prop. R is supported by regional K-12 school districts and systems across St. Louis city and county.

St. Louis is facing a shortage of skilled workers in critical industries such as healthcare, information technology and biotechnology. Funds raised from Prop. R will allow the College to make necessary improvements to programs that train students for careers in these and other high-demand fields. In addition, by investing in our workforce, St. Louis can attract new businesses and help existing businesses expand, benefiting everyone in the region.

Every $1 of state or local tax investment in STLCC yields a $2.40 return in benefits to the region and protects the investment taxpayers have already made in the College, its students and its facilities.

A growing economy helps every single member of our community. More and better jobs mean that cities, school districts and every other unit of local government will benefit from improved revenue, thus taking pressure off sales and property tax rates. So, the investment we make in STLCC improves the long-term future of the College and our local economy.

Everyone is affected by our region’s shortage of skilled workers and will benefit from strategic investments in our workforce. Funding Prop. R will also protect the investment we have made in STLCC over the past 60 years, ensuring that campus facilities are protected and updated so they can continue to support valuable educational and training programs for our community.

Every year, taxpayers provide STLCC with more than $100 million in funding. In return, residents will benefit from added tax revenue stemming from students’ higher lifetime earnings and increased business output, amounting to nearly $300 million. In addition, reduced demand for government-funded services in Missouri adds another $20 million in benefits to taxpayers. For every dollar of public money invested in STLCC, taxpayers receive more than $2.50 in return over the course of students’ working lives.

It is anticipated that the Missouri economy will grow by $3.4 billion over the course of students’ working lives. Society will also benefit from $76.8 million of public and private sector savings. For every dollar invested in STLCC, people in Missouri receive more than $10 in return for as long as STLCC’s students remain active in the state workforce.

The College’s older facilities are expensive to maintain and many cannot be renovated to meet the needs of today’s programs. Replacing or updating older buildings with modern, more efficient facilities will lead to significant ongoing savings on utilities, maintenance and groundskeeping.

All seven STLCC campuses would receive updates if Prop. R is approved. Projects include updated technology infrastructure, exterior lighting to improve safety and security and completion of deferred maintenance at every campus. Classrooms, labs, libraries and other learning spaces will be updated to provide hands-on, real-world training and education at the Florissant Valley, Meramec, Forest Park and Wildwood campuses. A full report of the updates to be performed are defined in the Facility Master Plan study, which was completed in 2021.

Many of STLCC’s facilities were built more than half a century ago, and a lot has changed since then. Many of these buildings cannot be updated to meet the training and technological needs of today. For example:

  • Nursing and other health science classroom spaces, aside from the Center for Nursing and Health Sciences at Forest Park, are too small and lack the technology infrastructure for simulation and other hands-on learning experiences. The current facilities have impacted the college’s ability to add additional radiology or other health career programs at other locations.
  • Hands-on technology class sizes are limited because learning spaces have been retrofitted into the only available space, small classrooms.
  • Science labs in older buildings have outdated fixed workstations that are not multi-purpose and modifiable for different classes within the science programs, making this space inefficient and not adaptable for modern technology required in these programs.
  • Aging lecture halls across the District were built for teaching, learning, and students from a different time. There is no space or power for laptops or other technology, and fixed seating that makes collaborative, hands-on learning nearly impossible.
  • The College leases space for the BioTech program so students have to attend those program-specific classes at an off-campus facility.

Prop. R will provide funding to increase and improve exterior campus lighting, improve wayfinding and access to public transportation, replace outdated security camera and locking systems to improve safety and security at all campuses.

If approved, funds from Prop. R would be available to the College in early 2022, with program updates and construction on updated facilities starting soon thereafter.

If Prop. R is not approved by voters, the region will fall behind without an educated workforce. The College will continue to do its best to maintain expensive, aging facilities. However, due to significant facility costs that must be addressed in the near future, the College would be unable to make many, if not most, of the improvements needed to provide the necessary programming to prepare residents for the careers of the future. Based on a 2016 facility study by Hastings and Chivetta, it is estimated that there are more than $90 million in updates that need to be done at the Forest Park, Florissant Valley and Meramec campuses alone. This does not include more than $60 million required for the abatement of asbestos-containing materials in the mature buildings, deferred maintenance, or replacement of outdated facilities-related infrastructure such as heating and cooling, plumbing, electric, and communications systems.

Workforce FAQs

Skilled trades, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and accounting and finance are among the top skills in demand by St. Louis area employers. In 2020, more than 50% of businesses reported the need for middle-skill employees to address workforce shortages. A shortage of workers with knowledge or skills remains the primary barrier to expanding employment.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) consists of a diverse economy with a labor force of over 1.3 million people. The top employment sectors are healthcare and social assistance, wholesale and retail trade. Over the past decade, there has been tremendous growth in the finance and insurance sector as well. Overall, the St. Louis economy added over 93,000 employees in the past 10 years through 2019.

STLCC students hold almost 50% of the region’s total jobs in the healthcare sector.

Nearly half of the region’s population aged 25 and older have a high school diploma but no post-secondary degree, lower than the state rate of 52%; 44% have an associate’s degree or greater, higher than both the state rate (37%) and the national rate (42%).

The average associate degree graduate from STLCC will see an increase in earnings of $10,000 each year compared to someone with a high school diploma working in Missouri.

Data continues to show that education pays off in both median earnings and lower unemployment rates. St. Louis MSA data for 2019 shows that having some college or an associate’s degree versus just a high school diploma reduces the average unemployment rate by 1.6% and provides $7,825 annually in average extra earnings. A bachelor’s degree or higher further reduces the unemployment rate by 1.7% and increases median earnings.

STLCC Specific FAQs

Annually, STLCC’s impact on St. Louis is $2 billion, which is approximately 2% of the entire St. Louis area economy.

STLCC is committed to moving St. Louis forward by:

  • Investing in high-demand educational opportunities.
  • Meeting the workforce demands of today and tomorrow.
  • Getting students through graduation and beyond with fewer student loans and less debt.

STLCC is the St. Louis region’s largest educational institution. Every year, 50,000 credit and non-credit students enroll at STLCC.

A ‘typical” student at STLCC is enrolled part time and is juggling multiple responsibilities including work, childcare and other personal responsibilities.

More than 1.3 million students have furthered their education at STLCC since 1962. In addition, it is estimated that more than half of the households in the St. Louis region have at least one resident who has attended STLCC at one point or another.

The length of each program is different, but STLCC strives to meet the needs of all students and employers and has found new ways to provide training and retraining. For example, the College offers short-term credentials, such as non-certificate programs, Certificates of Specialization

and Certificates of Proficiency, to quickly prepare workers. These credentials are then stackable to align with longer-term degrees and beyond to offer a career pathway.

If approved, Prop. R will allow the College to increase enrollment by expanding in-demand programs and providing education and training in facilities that meet the needs of today’s students.

As of spring 2021, there were more than unfilled 2,500 nursing jobs and 2,000 computer coding jobs alone available in the St. Louis region.

The College continues to have a waitlist for its nursing and respiratory care programs, while other healthcare programs such as radiologic technology, dental hygiene, diagnostic medical sonography, physical therapist assistant and surgical technology are typically at or close to capacity. The College has also seen growth in information technology programs along with career training in areas such as automotive and construction-based programs. Employers still need more graduates in programs such as computer programming, cybersecurity and other IT applications. All of these programs help local employers find the employees they need and provide a pathway for individuals in low-wage jobs into well-paying careers. Overall, this cycle is a boost to our regional economy.

Every year, College leadership reviews enrollment numbers and area workforce needs to update its program offerings. Since 2014, 110 programs have been updated, 20 have been added and 59 have been deactivated.

The College works diligently to balance its budget year to year. These efforts have involved reducing expenses for programs with few students and offering Voluntary Retirement Incentive programs to help reduce salary costs.

STLCC receives considerable private funding every year, but it is simply not enough to keep up with the demands for job training and retraining programs needed by our local economy. Recently, STLCC and its foundation raised more than $19 million in private donations to help fund high-demand priority initiatives agreed upon by College and STLCC Foundation leadership. These areas include offering increased scholarships and other student support initiatives that get STLCC students through graduation and beyond. In addition, the campaign has helped support the scaling up of two key program areas that will power the St. Louis economy in coming years: health sciences and information technology. Finally, the effort has brought substantial funding to grow the College’s workforce training initiatives, fueling increased partnerships with a diversity of businesses and industries. Every effort is being made to provide private funding to the College, and those efforts will continue.

While this effort has been tremendously helpful, there are still hundreds of millions of dollars in facility and program needs within the College.

The average tuition cost for an STLCC student who is a resident of the district is around $3,500, which is higher than the Missouri average for community college tuition, which is around $3,400 per year, and the national average of $3,340. Quality, affordable community college courses allow students to access life-changing education without accruing large debts. STLCC is committed to keeping tuition costs affordable.

Maybe. The proposed American Families Plan includes funding for community college tuition. This plan would help more students afford courses and graduate with less debt. However, tuition makes up only a small portion of the College’s budget. Whether tuition is paid by students or the state and federal government, most of the College’s budget will continue to come from other sources.

STLCC’s transferable courses allow students to complete degree requirements at less than half the cost of public universities. STLCC serves students at all stages of their college careers, whether they are first-time college students, returning students or visiting students from a university.

More than 1,000 St. Louis area high school students benefit from STLCC’s dual credit and dual enrollment programs each year. These opportunities to earn affordable, transferable college credits are incredibly important for local students and their families. Since 2015, the number of students involved in these programs has more than doubled.

STLCC serves residents in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and parts of Franklin and Jefferson counties. Four campuses and two education centers are located across the region.
Learn more about our locations

STLCC Facilities FAQs

Most of the buildings at the three main campuses (Meramec, Forest Park and Florissant Valley) were built in the 1960s, 60 years ago. Since then, careers, training and technology have changed dramatically, and the learning spaces needed to prepare today’s students are also very different.

The 60-year-old buildings have antiquated building systems and infrastructure, as well as disjointed, small rooms that lack the infrastructure to support the needs of the current educational programming and priorities. There is also an insufficient amount of laboratory and multipurpose flexible spaces but an overstock of large, underutilized, low-demand inflexible spaces such as gymnasiums, pools, and cafeterias.

Each year, the College spends approximately $4.3 million on repairs and maintenance of its buildings. More than $150 million in maintenance, repairs and updates have been identified through formal facility studies.

STLCC opened the Center for Nursing and Health Sciences at Forest Park in 2019. The Center features the latest technology and hands-on clinical learning spaces to help address the St. Louis region's growing healthcare workforce needs. More than 900 students per year prepare for careers in nursing and health science professions in this building.

This $40 million facility was built through a combination of private donations and a small bond issue that was paid for through the general operating fund and the sale of the College’s downtown corporate office building. This type of funding is not available to meet the more than $350 million in facility needs and additional program updates necessary to meet the needs of students and local employers.

Election FAQs

Proposition R

For the purposes of updating career training programs to enable job growth in critical industries including healthcare, information technology, financial services, biotechnology and manufacturing, providing safe and secure learning environments for students and employees,

investing in technology and infrastructure needs, constructing, renovating, equipping and furnishing new and existing facilities including the possible razing of some existing buildings, and furthering the college’s regional impact, shall the Board of Trustees of The Community

College District of St. Louis, St. Louis County, Missouri be authorized to increase the operating tax levy by $0.08 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation? If this proposition is approved, the adjusted operating levy of the district is estimated to be $0.2787 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation.

Prop. R will be on the Tuesday, Aug. 3 ballot.

Yes. Absentee voting opens on Tuesday, June 22. Monday, Aug. 2 is the last day for voting an absentee ballot in person at the Election Board office.

As of early June, the following cities had proposals on the ballot: Clayton, Frontenac, Greendale and Webster Groves. The Kinloch Fire Protection District and Northeast Ambulance and Fire District are also on the ballot.

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