Union Township schools advance referendum
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent December 12, 2012 9:42PM
Updated: January 14, 2013 7:24AM
UNION TOWNSHIP — A referendum in May will seek voter approval to increase property taxes to help pay for the Union Township School Corp.’s daily operations.
If enough residents vote to pass the referendum, property taxes would increase up to 22 cents per $100 assessed valuation from 2014 through 2020.
The School Board voted unanimously Wednesday to approve going forward with the referendum, and just one resident at the meeting asked questions. And those questions were on how many votes it would take to pass the referendum and how much support it has.
The school corporation held a special public meeting Nov. 27 to explain why it would ask for the referendum, but work on the initiative began long ago.
“Obviously, this is something the board has taken very seriously and has talked about for a year,” said board member Terry Boehlke, who will no longer be on the board after Dec. 31 after serving eight years.
Superintendent John Hunter said when introducing the matter, “We have determined that the school corporation is unable to carry out its duty (for the calendar year)” without passing the referendum.
Boehlke put the blame at the state legislature, which voted to fund schools through sales taxes instead of property taxes beginning in 2008.
“They made the school board, which is nonpartisan and nonpolitical, be the bad guys,” she said.
“We’re here to say we’re not going to sacrifice our school or our kids to make a point their plan didn’t work,” she said.
The administration will put residents’ questions from the Nov. 27 public forum and after that on the corporation’s website. Four already have been posted.
“People in our community have had questions, and it’s our intent to answer those questions,” Hunter said.
Overall, the process has “been fairly quiet. It’s actually been pretty positive,” he said.
The referendum must now go to the Department of Local Government Finance, which has to approve it within 10 days.
Hunter said the state bureau cannot deny the referendum vote but can ask the district to reword it.
At the Nov. 27 meeting, he said if the school doesn’t pass a referendum, it will have to make drastic budget cuts.