The City of Fort Wayne and Northwest Allen County Schools are disputing over money the school district could lose from the city’s annexation plan. The district’s school board voted Tuesday to eliminate bus service by 2018 if the city moves forward with the plan.
Superintendent Chris Himsel says the district has kept costs down over the years to maintain bus service after losing revenue due to property tax caps, but revenue loss as a result of annexation would be “untenable”.
According to the Northwest Allen County Schools website, the current amount of revenue lost to property tax caps is about $1.9 million. If annexed, that amount would increase to about $4.4 million.
The city issued a statement on Tuesday in response to the district’s bus service elimination, saying that that Himsel was using “scare tactics” to distress parents and students:
“As Dr. Himsel continues to place blame on the City’s annexation plan for the district’s budget woes, his scare tactics distressing parents and students is both disingenuous and fails to allow for a dialogue seeking collaboration on Fort Wayne and the region’s future,” the statement said. “Bussing challenges aren’t new to NACS and the City has met with Dr. Himsel on multiple occasions.
Fort Wayne’s City Council is expected to take a preliminary and final vote on the annexation’s funding plan Tuesday evening. If approved, discussion on the city’s annexation plan continues. If it isn’t, the city’s proposal fails.