Voters approve all school referendums

Two districts in northeast Indiana are breathing a sigh of relief after their levies were approved by voters Tuesday.

Posted: May 9, 2018 8:38 PM
Updated: May 9, 2018 10:46 PM

HUNTERTOWN, Ind. (WFFT) - Hoosiers endorsed all 12 school referendums on Tuesday's primary election ballot, including measures for property tax increases to boost funding for school districts.

That has two districts right here in northeast Indiana breathing a sigh of relief.

"We are so excited at Northwest Allen County Schools to have the support of the parents and the community behind us," said Lizette Downey, NACS spokeswoman.

Voters in NACS approved a $34 million referendum.

Some of that money will go toward making upgrades to existing schools to enhance security.

However, most of it will go toward building a new elementary school.

The district isn't announcing where the new school will go, but they are looking in the Huntertown area.

Huntertown Elementary has a temporary classroom on site now, with more planned for next year.

But those will be going away once the new building is open.

"Students overall will be pleased to get a new school they will be able to attend," said Downey.

Tuesday's results show school districts are having better success at passing ballot initiatives than in the past.

School referendums historically have an approval rate of about 50 percent, but that has gone up to around 80 percent in the past two years.

Leading up to the election, signs across Churubusco showed a community that was split about the levy Smith-Green Community Schools put on the ballot.

Voters ultimately approved the operational levy so the district can continue to cover expenses.

"We're feeling relieved for our school district and our programs and most importantly our children," said Daniel Hile, Smith-Green Community Schools superintendent.

The levy was worded so it can vary year to year depending on the needs of the district.

However, Hile said the highest it will be for tax payers is an average of an $30 a month.

He said the district will do what they can to keep the costs low.

"I'm still concerned about the impact it will have on our taxpayers. We know this a very serious issue and will have financial implications. We don't take that lightly," said Hile.

Hile said it's too early to tell where the tax rate will land in the first year until they determine the budget in the fall.

Meanwhile, construction on a new elementary school in NACS is expected to begin by the end of the year.

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