THUMBS UP For Webster Schools

Despite tough economic times, voters OK tax hike, school bond issue

Webster Groves School District Superintendent Sarah Riss (right) gives the "thumbs up" as favorable numbers begin coming in Tuesday night on Propositions S and W. Both measures passed. Looking on are Sandy Runyon, left, president of the Webster School District Foundation, and Gayle Hennessey, the district's director of student services. Supporters gathered Tuesday evening at Hixson Middle School. photo by Diana Linsley. (click for larger version)
April 09, 2010
The Bristol Bravos choral group members kicked off their school day on Wednesday, April 7, by serenading classmates with the song "Good News!" The song easily summed up the mood of the entire Webster Groves School District after voters passed Propositions S and W in Tuesday's election.

Proposition S was passed by a margin of 54.6 percent. It will raise property taxes 55 cents and is intended to help maintain staffing levels and class sizes throughout the district.

Proposition W is a zero-increase bond issue that will allow the district to move forward with improvements to the high school. It passed with 65.66 percent of the vote. Work will begin on a new parking lot this summer, with additional projects scheduled to span several years.

Caroline Miller celebrates the passage of Props. S & W. photo by Diana Linsley. (click for larger version)
"We knew this wasn't going to be an easy thing to get done, but we had gotten positive feedback during our canvassing and were hopeful," said Webster Groves Superintendent Sarah Riss. "What this shows is that we are surrounded by a great community that understands the importance of education. They gave us the gift of a positive, forward-thinking future and have asked us to take the district to the next level."

Riss watched the election results at Hixson Middle School with members of the school board as well as volunteers from Citizens Supporting Webster Schools, a nonprofit organization that supporters formed to communicate the district's message to the community.

"We didn't get confident until around 10:30 p.m. We feel like the community has said that they understood why we were asking for these propositions and that they trust us to make the best use of the funds," Riss said.

Riss also said that, while the propositions did pass, the district will continue to focus on finding cost-saving measures that won't subtract from student learning.

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