Referendum win averts CP school layoffs
By Chelsea Schneider Kirk firstname.lastname@example.org May 4, 2011 6:02PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Crown Point Community School Corp. beat the odds on Tuesday in passing the district’s referendum.
Five Indiana school districts appealed to voters for the ability to collect more property taxes on the Tuesday ballot. Three failed, but referendums for Crown Point and Perry Township Schools in Marion County passed.
Historically, this type of referendum is a tough sell. Schools can also attempt to pass referendums for construction projects.
Some 52 percent of referendums asking property owners to pay more taxes to school districts failed statewide in the last three elections held in November 2009 and 2010 and May 2010, according to Department of Local Government Finance records.
Yet, unofficial vote totals show the Crown Point referendum passed by a 1,600-vote margin, a “landslide,” Crown Point Schools Superintendent Teresa Eineman said.
Because the referendum passed, Eineman confirmed no layoffs will need to occur in the school district.
“We broke some records on voter turnout in the May primary,” said Eineman on Wednesday. “Those voters deliberately came to vote for the community and the schools. We were ecstatic by the turnout.”
Crown Point is expected to receive $39.5 million in state funding for the next fiscal year, down less than 1 percent from this year.
The referendum will increase property taxes by 21 cents per $100 of assessed value. For a home assessed at $190,000, the increase will be about $191 annually or $16 a month.
The ability for districts to seek tax levy referendums gained new meaning with the state’s property tax caps, DLGF spokeswoman Amanda Stanley said.
Including Tuesday’s primary, school districts have sought 30 separate tax levy referendums since November 2009. Eineman expects referendums to become an essential proposal communities will need to consider.
Stanley didn’t venture a guess on whether more districts will seek tax levy referendums in lieu of voters deciding to write the tax caps into the state constitution.
“Because referendums are outside the tax caps,” Stanley said, “although there was a referendum process, it had different impacts prior to the caps.”