Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

What You Need To Know About 7 School Referenda On November’s Ballot

This November’s election isn’t only about voting elected officials into office. There’s a lot at stake for seven of Indiana’s public school districts.

But why, you may ask? Let us explain.

School districts can ask voters through a ballot referenda process to raise property taxes to help fund their schools. Basically, the ballot question asks voters to pay more in property taxes so the schools have more funding.

This November, seven districts will pose nine different ballot questions asking voters to fund construction projects or contribute to the district’s general fund. (Nine questions because MSD Washington Township and School City of Mishawaka will ask both types of questions).

The districts presenting referenda on the November 2016 ballot are MSD Washington Township, New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corporation, School City of Mishawaka, Clinton Central School Corporation, Gary Community Schools Corporation, Monroe County Community School Corporation and Northeast Dubois County School Corporation.

Take a look at your taxes could be affected:

Since property tax caps were established in 2008 and the General Assembly updated the state’s school funding formula in 2015, school districts have increasingly turned to referenda to fund their districts.

After the 2008 property tax caps were put in place, there was an upsurge in the consistency of school districts creating referenda for additional funds, to varying success. In recent years that’s changed.

Before May 2011, about 40 percent of the referenda passed, but since then, about two-thirds have passed. In May, eight of 10 proposed school referenda passed.

We take a look at what each district will request from voters, and how they would spend that money, below:

Construction Referenda:

MSD of Washington Township

  • Purpose: Renovate 14 district schools.
  • Prjoect cost: $185 million
  • Rate: Up to $0.2828 per $100 of assessed value. For a home valued at $100,000, about $100 per year.

New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corporation

  • Purpose: Construct two new school buildings and renovate seven existing schools.
  • Project cost: $87 million
  • Rate: Up to $0.21 per $100 of assessed value. For a home valued at $100,000, about $75 per year.

School City of Mishawaka 

  • Purpose: Renovations, restorations and upgrades at 11 district buildings.
  • Project cost: $13 million
  • Rate: Up to $0.16 per $100 of assessed value. For a home valued at $100,000, about $60 per year.

School Tax Levy Referenda:

Clinton Central School Corporation

  • Purpose: Fund and maintain current educational program, class sizes and employees.
  • Referenda length: seven years following the vote
  • Rate: Up to $0.15 per $100 of assessed value. For a home valued at $100,000, about $55 per year.

Gary Community Schools

  • Purpose: To fund teaching positions, staff positions and education programming.
  • Referenda length: seven years
  • Rate: Up to $0.475 per $100 of assessed value. For a home valued at $100,000, about $170 per year.

MSD of Washington Township

  • Purpose: Maintain academic staff and programs, and fund operating costs of new school facilities.
  • Referenda length: seven years
  • Rate: Up to $0.11 per $100 of assessed value. For a home valued at $100,000, about $40 per year.

Monroe County Community School Corporation

  • Purpose: To maintain funding for teachers, resources and educational programs. The rate was originally approved by voters during a 2010 referendum.
  • Referenda length: six years
  • Rate: Up to $0.115 per $100 of assessed value. For a home valued at $100,000, about $40 per year.

Northeast Dubois County School Corporation

  • Purpose: To fund courses required for graduation, class sizes, extracurricular activities and employees.
  • Referenda length: seven years
  • Rate: Up to $0.18 per $100 of assessed value. For a home valued at $100,000, about $65 per year.

School City of Mishawaka

  • Purpose: Fund new technology hardware and software, implement new educational programs, adjust class sizes, raise employee compensation.
  • Referenda length: seven years
  • Rate: Up to $0.2434 per $100 of assessed value. For a home valued at $100,000, about $90 per year.

Westfield-Washington Schools

  • Purpose: Fund academic programs and maintain class sizes.
  • Referenda length: seven years
  • Rate: Up to $0.20 per $100 of assessed value. For a home valued at $100,000, about $70 per year.

Comments

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »

Economy
Education