Voters passed 9 of 10 school referenda posed on ballots around the state Tuesday, raising property taxes to help fund local schools.
The Gary Community Schools referendum is the only one that failed, with the ballot measure falling 321 votes short of passing.
The overwhelming passage of these referenda is a surprise to Larry DeBeour, an economist based at Purdue who studies local taxes.
“Until now, the referenda in May always did better than the referenda in November,” DeBeour says.
DeBeour says the biggest advantage that nine of the ten districts had was they posed these questions before and knew what it would take to get voters to raise taxes.
“Those who know they can’t win don’t even try,” DeBeour says.
Eight school districts posed 10 different referenda questions on ballots around the state, asking voters to increase property taxes to help fund local schools.
There are two types of referenda questions: construction and tax levees. Construction referenda seek money to fund a specific project like a school renovation. Tax levees contribute to the district’s general fund, which pays for teachers, utilities and other expenses.