DeKalb Central outlines its need for facility improvements

These plans have been in the works for a couple years now, but Concerned Citizens for DeKalb County was able to get enough signatures to make it a referendum.

Posted: Feb 22, 2019 8:53 PM
Updated: Feb 22, 2019 10:25 PM

WATERLOO, Ind. (WFFT) - DeKalb County Central United School District is asking voters to approve a referendum that would pay for facility upgrades district wide.

These plans have been in the works for a couple years now, but Concerned Citizens for DeKalb County was able to get enough signatures to make it a referendum.

DeKalb Central's proposal is centered around mostly around athletic fields upgrades at the Middle School and High School.

Superintendent Steve Teders said the space is already cramped.

"There's a lot of kids. I think the last time we did a checked on numbers we had anywhere from 50 to over 60 percent of our students in extra curricular, co-curricular activities," said Teders.

DeKalb Central is asking voters to approve up to $56.7 million, including interest, to pay for 16 projects in the district.

A portion of that is expanding the cafeteria at J.R. Watson Elementary and updating the boilers at DeKalb High School.

"We have a priority list at all of our buildings and it ended up James R. Watson, DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb High School were the three buildings where we saw priority of needs." said Teders.

The proposal includes five artificial turf fields and a field house.

Teders said enrollment has been declining in recent years, except this year.

He is hoping these projects will help keep the upward trend going.

"It is very appealing to families who are looking to locate here. We know a great community needs great schools," he said.

Teders said the project would've been tax neutral because the school debt is paid off.

That is no longer the case because of the referendum.

If school districts in Indiana successfully pass a referendum, property tax caps no longer apply.

"For about 15 percent of our property owners, the referendum would force them to see a slight increase in their taxes," Teders said.

You can learn more about the proposed projects on DeKalb Central's website. There you will also find a tax calculator so you can see exactly how much, if any, your taxes would go up if the referendum is approved.

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