10 School Districts Posing Referenda Tuesday

Apr 28, 2017

School districts across the state are once again asking voters to help fund public schools, with nine districts asking for property tax increases Tuesday.

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.

Primaries are much quieter than November elections, and this can bode well for referenda. May referenda often pass at a higher rate than those posed in November. Fewer voters show up, and many who do are motivated to vote because of the referendum.

School districts across the state have turned to referenda questions over the last decade as ways to supplement funding for schools after property tax caps went into place.

Larry DeBoer researches local government public policy at Purdue University, and studies Indiana referenda. He says seven of the ten questions have already been asked before, in those districts, and they were successful. And he expects a majority of these referenda to pass on Tuesday.

“The record of school corporations that have tried and won before is almost perfect, so I’m guessing we are going to see a lot of success Tuesday, if only because of that,” DeBoer says.

Below are a list of the referenda questions being posed:

Construction ReferendaSchool Town of Munster

  • Purpose: renovating three elementary schools, one middle school and one high school, including structural and technology improvements.
  • Project cost: $48 million
  • Proposed rate increase: $0.43 per $100 of assessed home value.

Westfield Washington School Corporation

  • Purpose: renovate an elementary, intermediate, middle and high school in the district.
  • Project cost: $90 million
  • Proposed rate increase: $0.30 per $100 of assessed home value.

School Tax Levy ReferendaCannelton City Schools

  • Purpose: continue operating costs necessary to provide programs and learning opportunities.
  • Referenda length: seven years
  • Proposed rate increase: $0.41 per $100 of assessed home value.

Carmel Clay Schools

  • Purpose: funding academic and support programs, teaching positions, and any other educational needs of the school corporation.
  • Referenda length: seven years.
  • Proposed rate increase: $0.19 per $100 of assessed home value.

Lake Station Community Schools

  • Purpose: funding maintaining and expanding academic programs, teaching positions, student safety, school bus transportation, and other educational needs of the school.
  • Referenda length: seven years.
  • Proposed rate increase: $0.54 per $100 of assessed home value.

School City of East Chicago

  • Purpose: funding teaching positions, staff positions and educational programming.
  • Referenda length: seven years.
  • Proposed rate increase: $0.30 per $100 of assessed home value.

School Town of Munster

  • Purpose: $0.42 per $100 of assessed home value.
  • Referenda length: seven years.
  • Proposed rate increase: funding to continue current and implement new educational programs, to address additional staffing needs, including special education staffing, for anticipated increases in employee compensation and other operational costs, for payment of debt service on obligations of the school corporation after Dec. 31, 2019 to re-establish additional fund balances.

Sheridan Community Schools

  • Purpose: $0.25 per $100 of assessed home value.
  • Referenda length: seven years.
  • Proposed rate increase: funding and maintaining teaching staff, classroom sizes, and academic related programs.

Tri-County School Corporation

  • Purpose: funding existing and future academic programming and any other educational needs of the school corporation.
  • Referenda length: seven years.
  • Proposed rate increase: $0.27 per $100 of assessed home value.

West Lafayette Community School Corporation

  • Purpose: $0.37 per $100 of assessed home value.
  • Referenda length: seven years.
  • Proposed rate increase: funding academic and educationally related programs, to manage class sizes, and to retain teachers.