The Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC) is facing many challenges while trying to solve the county’s school budget crisis. Programs have been cut, and faculty have been let go. More cuts are lined up unless something is done to raise revenue.
For any school district facing a budget crisis, a referendum is always a possible yet unappealing option. Because a referendum would raise property taxes, the MCCSC sought support as well as other ideas from the community during several meetings throughout the week.
Students, parents, and concerned members of the community gathered at Bloomington High School South to voice their concerns. Bill Lumbly, a Monroe County resident and retired educator, feels the most important thing to consider is teacher layoffs and growing class size.
Because of the size of the community and the importance of the issue, the MCCSC wanted to ensure these meetings were as beneficial as possible by hiring outside help. MGT America, a private consulting firm, provided experience polling communities to see what issues were most important and what feelings were regarding a possible referendum.
“You have got to understand where those priorities lie. If hard decisions have to be made, lets make those decisions in the best interest of children,” said Bill Carnes, a former superintendent and senior associate for MGT.
MGT went through a long list of priorities and using electronic clickers, community members were allowed to show their support, or lack of. Not all community members shared similar concerns. For example, some wanted to see athletic programs eliminated, while others stressed the importance of those programs. While support varied from issue to issue, few community members opposed the possibility of a referendum.
“I think the local community is willing to give the schools the support they need to continue the quality of education we have come to expect”, said Emily Nehus, a violin teacher and parent of Monroe County students.
The MCCSC has said they hope to reach a final decision on whether to include a referendum on the November 2nd ballot by the end of June.