Kyle Stokes joined WFIU/WTIU in 2011 as an education reporter and blogger for StateImpact Indiana, a collaborative reporting venture between WFIU and NPR News. He comes to Bloomington from Columbia, Mo., where he was a producer and reporter for NPR member station KBIA-FM and NBC affiliate KOMU-TV. Originally from Minneapolis, Minn., Stokes is a proud graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and an even prouder Minnesota Twins fan.
Draper, Inc., in Spiceland is the largest private employer in Henry County, manufacturing various equipment for schools.
The Draper, Inc., plant in Spiceland might have been the birthplace of your school’s gymnasium.
The manufacturer actually makes all kinds of equipment for schools, from window shades to projection systems. Look one way and you’ll see a basketball hoop hanging from the ceiling. Look another direction, and you’ll see wall padding stacked on a pallet.
“I’ll sell a lot of these to Saudi Arabia,” says Nate LaMar, who manages international sales.
Any equipment Draper employees use to make these products in its 400,000 square foot plant in Spiceland — from staple guns to forklifts — is subject to Indiana’s business personal property tax. It’s not just manufacturing equipment; office supplies and computers are taxed too.
This map shows how much each Indiana school district would lose if lawmakers were to eliminate the personal property tax — a tax on business equipment. The darker the school corporation’s shade, the bigger the projected hit of the tax’s elimination would be. The proposals General Assembly members are currently considering, however, would not eliminate the tax immediately or completely.
That said, none of the proposals state lawmakers are considering — including the one Indiana House members approved Thursday — are as complete or as immediate as cutting the state’s tax on business equipment altogether. The tax generates $1 billion in revenues annually for local governments and schools.
We put those numbers into map form above. The largest projected losses are in darker shades of blue. Click on your district to see how much property tax revenue the district would lose if lawmakers were to eliminate the business equipment tax completely. Continue Reading →
Cars were moving at speeds well below the school zone limit near Franklin Township Middle School East in August 2011, after steep busing fees impelled many parents to drive their kids to school. School officials began charging the fee after property tax caps cut off revenue from the district's transportation fund.
So back up for just a second, and let me get this straight: We ask businesses to pay a tax on equipment they already own?
That’s right — any equipment “used in the production of income or held as an investment,” according to the state. “We’re not talking the land” used for a business, says DeBoer. “We’re not talking about buildings, we’re talking mostly manufacturing and utility equipment inside those factory and utility buildings. Then we’re talking about computers and all sorts of other things that businesses will have.” Continue Reading →
They’ve also hired a consultant — Thomas Peeler of Small School Solutions LLP — and are pursuing two possible options: a public charter school or redistricting two townships (Cass and Jefferson) out of NESC so that Dugger would have its own public school corporation.
“We’re pursuing parallel paths,” said Greg Ellis, who was president of Save Union High School. The preferred path is for the Dugger community to form its own public school district.
But as Politico reported last week, it’s big-dollar conservative donors who’ve come to the financial aid of groups formed to oppose the the nationally-crafted academic standards.
And at least one group sees sees rolling back the Common Core as the first step in a broader education fight, as Stephanie Simon reports:
A draft action plan by the advocacy group FreedomWorks lays out the effort as a series of stepping stones: First, mobilize to strike down the Common Core. Then push to expand school choice by offering parents tax credits or vouchers to help pay tuition at private and religious schools. Next, rally the troops to abolish the U.S. Department of Education. Then it’s on to eliminating teacher tenure. Continue Reading →
But Indiana law requires a school district to inform families three years before the total elimination of busing services. While state officials say they’re “sympathetic” to Muncie’s financial plight, the district didn’t provide a “sufficient plan” to get students to school safely. (The Muncie Politics blog has the full denial document.)