ST. LOUIS — St. Louis voters passed a pair of propositions Tuesday to increase funding for public schools and increase the fines for people caught illegally dumping.
Proposition S and Proposition F both passed in the City of St. Louis with more than 80% of the vote Tuesday.
Proposition S would allow the St. Louis Board of Education to borrow $160 million to fund a wide range of repairs and renovations in the Saint Louis Public School District, including security system upgrades, lead removal and ADA improvements. It would not change tax rates.
In Initial project allocations for the funding's use, a large portion of potential spending would go to HVAC upgrades, restroom renovations and "building envelope" work such as hazardous material abatement, waterproofing, and roof and window replacements.
The bill had widespread support from teachers unions and school district leaders, as well as the city comptroller. St. Louis voters have a history of approving similar bond issues to improve their schools, Manion said.
The district has complained of losing millions in tax revenue in recent years due to tax breaks given to developers.
Voters approved Proposition F to support increasing the maximum fine from $500 to $1000 for violations of city environmental ordinances, such as illegal dumping.
The proposition comes at a time St. Louis has had an unprecedented number of trash complaints, buckling down on people who illegally dump in the city's dumpsters, alleys and vacant lots.
"So its really frustrating to folks, and the perception and perhaps the reality is that part of it is contractors and maybe other folks, possibly from the county, crossing over into the city and dumping," said 5 On Your Side Political Analyst Anita Manion.
Other contributing factors, Manion said, include shortages of waste removal staff as well as an increase in at-home shopping and take-out dining, which means people are throwing away more garbage than before the pandemic.
"All of those things have come together to create a real problem with trash in our city," Manion said. "And so this is sort of an effort to buckle down on those folks who are using the city's dumpsters and individuals' alleys behind their houses to get rid of their waste without paying for it."