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All the yard signs paid off — voters in the Fulton School District voted Tuesday to approve an increase to the district's operating levy.

"We are very pleased with the community support," said Superintendent Jacque Cowherd. "It's going to help our kids and help our teachers."

It's the first time in about 15 years that the district has increased its operating levy, he added.

Proposition K asked voters to approve an increase of the operating tax levy ceiling by $.5698 to $3.8948 per $100 in assessed property valuation. The debt service levy would remain steady at $0.7612 per $100. A taxpayer with a home assessed at $100,000 now will pay about $108 more in taxes.

According to unofficial results posted Tuesday night by the Callaway County Clerk's Office, 2,004 voters (55.76 percent) voted in support of Proposition K, while 1,590 (44.24 percent) voted against. On 155 of the 3,749 Proposition K ballots cast, the voter choose neither option.

District officials argued the levy increase was necessary to maintain funding for special needs and mental health services. A federal mental health grant, which brought in a school psychologist and professional counselors but will soon expire, revealed in 2015 that nearly one in five district students was socially, academically and/or emotionally at-risk.

The boosted levy will also allow an increase in base salary for teachers, from $33,165 to $34,415, Cowherd said. This will put FPS salaries closer to those of nearby school districts, which should help decrease turnover, he added.

Later this month, the FPS Board of Education will vote to approve the levy increase, which then will be submitted to the state auditor's office, Cowherd said.

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