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IPS Reducing Tax Raise in Referendum.

El'ad Nichols-Kaufman, Writer

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On Tuesday, the IPS school board voted unanimously to scale down the tax raise to be offered in its operating referendum, after facing much criticism on the amount of money asked for in the original referendum.

Originally, the operating referendum and the capital referendum combined would have raised almost one billion dollars to go towards raising teacher’s salaries, building upkeep and transportation.

Now, the revised plan will ask for 725 million, with the costs cut all from the operating referendum.

The district has promised that the promised raises for teachers over the next eight years will still continue if the referendum passes, but the proposed transportation reforms will not take place, meaning IPS’s decaying transportation system will remain in place.

This change was prompted partially by criticism from business groups, but mostly by a very strong statement by Gordon Henry, a member of the Indiana State Board of Education, who called the referendum the “most nonchalant billion dollar tax increase ever approved by anyone.” Other groups have been upset by the fact that IPS had not released a detailed spending plan, and that the taxes were raised far too high.

Dr. Ferebee released a spending plan earlier on the 20th, which promised to spend per year $48.7 million for teacher compensation, $8 million for services and supplies, $2 million for building and equipment maintenance and $7 million for transportation.

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