Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

School City Of Mishawaka To Discuss School Closures After Failed Referendum

The Hamilton Community School Corporation referendum will appear on the ballot in Steuben and DeKalb counties on Nov. 6.

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

Indiana school districts facing budget shortfalls are increasingly asking voters to raise their own taxes.

Mishawaka parents and community members are rallying to keep Hums Elementary open as district officials debate cost-saving measures in the wake of a failed referendum.

Voters rejected a $28 million dollar proposal to upgrade schools facilities by a 2-to-1 margin in November, reports Kim Kilbridge for the South Bend Tribune:

“Why Hums?” Melissa Buraczewski, a parent there, said. “Our teaching staff is great. We’re consistently an A (rated) school. … Our parents are willing to give time and money to the school.”

The answer to that question, Superintendent Terry Barker said, is the cost of the essential work that needs to be done to the school. It far outweighs that of the district’s other elementary schools.

Heating system costs have been pegged at about $257,000 for Hums, Barker said.

But it’s asbestos in the building, which became more of a concern in the summer when new cracks began forming in the ceiling of the library and commons areas, that tops the to-do list for both cost and necessity.

The asbestos is contained, Barker said, and doesn’t pose a health risk. But completely removing it and repairing the ceilings, the superintendent said, would cost $510,000.

The School City of Mishawaka has lost almost $600,000 to property tax caps.

District officials say closing Hums Elementary would save roughly $10 million over the next six years. They’ll consider all the options at a February meeting.

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