District Pursues Referenda

El'ad Nichols-Kaufman, Writer

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In December, the school board voted unanimously to pursue a referendum that would increase property taxes in order to fund the district, which is in deep financial straits. There are two separate referenda, an operating referendum and a capital referendum. The referenda would raise 936 million in tax dollars over the next eight years.

The reason for these referenda is the serious underfunding of IPS. In the 2017-18 school year, IPS has received 10 million dollars less in state funding and 14.2 million less in federal funding than in the 2010-2011 school year. This has caused the district to make serious budget cuts, most recent if which was the closing of multiple high schools.

With the operating referendum, IPS hopes to spend a majority of that money in order to provide a much needed pay raise to its seriously under payed teachers and maintain health benefits as a cost neutral benefit for staff. The rest of the 92.4 million anualy generated through this referendum would go to special education, transportation and building maintenance.

Through the capital referendum, which would generate five million dollars a year, IPS hopes to improve school facilities with minor repaira and maintenance and provide more advanced classroom technology.

The cost of these referenda to property owners would not be great, which would only cost $0.73 for every hundred dollars of property value. For the median house value in the district, that would only be $283.35 year.

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