Voters in the City of St. Louis decided on Tuesday that they want to fund early childhood education and make municipal elections more competitive. They passed Proposition R 71532 votes (56.13%) to 55903 (43.87%), and they passed Proposition D by an even more decisive margin of 86097 votes (68.14%) to 40261 (31.86%).
City voters also reelected three citywide office-holders – Circuit attorney Kimberly Gardner, Treasurer Tishaura O. Jones, and Sheriff Vernon Betts – by wide margins
Proposition R, placed on the ballot by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, increases the property tax rate by 6 cents – up to 25 cents per $100 of home value from the current rate of 19 cents – resulting in an estimated $2.3 million annual investment in early childhood education for children ages 5 and under. The funds raised through Proposition R will be managed by the St. Louis Mental Health Board’s Community Children’s Services Fund.
“Though there are 225 licensed early childhood programs serving approximately 10,000 children 5-years-old and under in the city, hundreds of children and families are left without equitable access to quality programs,” Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, president of the Deaconess Foundation, wrote in support of the proposition. “All children should have access to quality early childhood care and education from birth to be sure they are ready to learn in Kindergarten.”
Proposition D makes three changes to the voting process for St. Louis city elections. First, it creates a nonpartisan primary. Second, voters have the ability to approve (or disapprove) of every candidate on the ballot. Finally, the two candidates with the most votes in the primary advance to the general election.
Proposition D was endorsed by Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush, St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura O. Jones, state Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, and Rev. Darryl Gray.
“This is a great day for democracy and a huge win for the people of St. Louis," Aldridge, who is also the city's 5th Ward Democratic committeeman, said on election night.
“Prop D will let the people’s voices be heard like they haven’t before. It gives voters a say for candidates to make it to the general election. The people’s voices will be heard instead of letting people win with only 30% of the vote.”
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson won the 2017 municipal Democratic primary with 32% of the vote.
Tishaura O. Jones – who lost to Krewson by just 888 votes in that primary – was reelected as St. Louis treasurer with nearly 100,000 votes (99547, to be exact) or 77.58%. Robert Vroman got 25929 votes (20.21%) and Don De Vivo got 2655 votes (2.07%).
Kimberly Gardner was reelected as St. Louis circuit attorney with 94942 votes (73.95%). Daniel Zdrodowski got 33100 votes (25.78%).
Vernon Betts was reelected as St. Louis sheriff with more than 100,000 votes (103018, to be exact) or 80.88%. John Castellano got 23924 votes (18.78%).