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How Indiana's Neighbor States Handle Referendums

This is a ballot from 1956.  Included is a request for $900,000 for construction of a new school facility.

There is only one way for schools in Indiana to raise money– ask voters to increase their property tax bill. Indiana’s neighbor state’s like Illinois, Michigan and particularly Ohio have used this systems for years.

Why Governor Daniels Thinks Small School Districts Should Consolidate

Governor Mitch Daniels backed a piece of legislation which would have forced schools with low enrollments to consolidate with neighboring districts.  The bill was eventually defeated.

About 20 percent of school districts in the state are rapidly facing a choice: either pass a referendum or consolidate with a neighboring school district.  In 2007, Governor Mitch Daniels commissioned a study titled “Streamlining Local Government” (also known as the Kernan-Shepard Report). Among other findings, was a simple suggestion– eliminate all school districts with [...]

Are Indiana's "Rich" School Districts Getting Richer?

Election season is upon us, and aside from the usual blustering politicians and hopefuls, there’s another question appearing on ballots across the state: Will voters raise their own taxes to support local school districts? Political predictions are notoriously difficult to make, but the past can be a guide. We took a look back at the [...]

Rural Schools Could Be Forced To Consolidate

During his presentation, Sheridan Community Schools board member Todd Roberts claimed that school closures would be hard on many Indiana small towns.

School officials at many of Indiana’s smallest districts are having a hard time balancing their checkbooks. There is mounting evidence that this is part of a concerted effort by Governor Mitch Daniels and the General Assembly to force consolidation onto districts with fewer than two thousand students. For the few attempting a referendum, it’s a [...]

Q&A: Should Voters Support Referendums?

David Dresslar, Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Leadership and Learning at the University of Indianapolis

School districts in three states neighboring Indiana — Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan — regularly ask voters for higher taxes and more revenues, often to fill critical holes in their budgets. Indiana might join them. This year, five districts have referendums on their ballots. Even after state funding cuts and a cap on property tax collections [...]

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