This year’s first round of school funding referenda includes 10 school corporations, with a handful of the schools asking voters for more funding for the first time.
Four referenda are from districts that have never tried to pass one: Frontier, Franklin Community, DeKalb County Central United and Plymouth. In Franklin, teacher pay and mental health supports for students are a driving factor.
In Elkhart, voters will consider replacing a current tax, with a new, higher one to help boost school staff pay and pay for social workers in elementary schools.
Most of the referenda asks are proposing tax hikes that range between 20-60 cents per $100 of a property’s assessed value. But in Lake County, River Forest Schools are asking for a tax hike of more than $1.19 per $100 of property value.
Local tax expert and Purdue professor Larry DeBoer says River Forest’s measure is one of the highest ever proposed, and will be interesting to watch for two reasons.
“Rates that high in the past have not done very well, on the other hand they’ve won before and those who have won before have often done very well,” he says.
Just two referenda proposals in the state focus on construction, in Hanover and DeKalb. The rest mostly focus on staff pay, transportation, school safety – including mental health – and building updates.
Dekalb County Central United School District - Dekalb and Steuben County
Property tax rate: $.3391 per $100 assessed value
Project total: $37.6 million
For: Renovations for Watson Elementary School, DeKalb High School and DeKalb Middle School
Hanover Community School Corporation - Lake County
Property tax rate: $.5605 per $100 assessed value
Project total: $44,090,000
For: Renovations and security upgrades for schools, new resource center and facility for upper elementary students
Duneland School Corporation - Porter County
Property tax rate: $0.22 per $100 assessed value for 7 years
For: Teacher pay, safety, education programs
Note: This will extend a current tax already in place.
Elkhart Community Schools - Elkhart County
Property tax rate: $0.58 per $100 assessed value for 8 years
For: Teacher and staff pay, social workers in elementary schools, school safety, class sizes
Note: This measure would replace a tax levy currently in place
Franklin Community School Corporation - Johnson County
Property tax rate: $0.23 per $100 assessed value for 8 years
For: School safety, mental health, teacher pay
Frontier School Corporation - White County
Property tax rate: $0.21 per $100 assess value for 8 years
For: Class sizes, finding and retaining teachers, education programs
MSD Decatur Township - Marion County
Property tax rate: $0.289 per $100 assessed value for 8 years
For: student transportation, safety, building maintenance and electricity
Note: This would replace a current levy in place and reduce the tax by one cent
MSD Wayne Township - Marion County
Property tax rate: $0.35 per $100 assessed value for 8 years
For: school safety, recruiting and retaining teachers, maintaining daily education operations
Plymouth School Corporation - Marshall County
Property tax rate: $0.19 per $100 assessed value for 8 years
For: Attracting and retaining teachers, school safety, mental health supports
River Forest Community School Corporation - Lake County
Property tax rate: $1.19 per $100 assessed value for 8 years
For: Funding for teaching and other staff positions, transportation, education programs