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The school referendum question: What would it cost you, and what would the benefit be to Vigo County kids?

It is a long detailed question, so we wanted to break it down for you before you head into the voting booth.

Posted: Oct 16, 2019 5:29 PM
Updated: Oct 31, 2019 1:58 PM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - On Tuesday, November 5 all Vigo County voters will have the chance to vote yes or no to two very important referendums.

On Tuesday, we took a look at the casino question.

Now, we will take a look at question number two. It involves the Vigo County School Corporation and tax dollars.

LINK | WHAT IS THE POSSIBLE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF A CASINO IN VIGO COUNTY?

It is a long detailed question, so we wanted to break it down for you before you head into the voting booth.

Referendum number two will look like this on the ballot: For the eight calendar years immediately following the holding of the referendum, shall Vigo County School Corporation impose a property tax rate that does not exceed 16 and 22-hundredths cents on each $100 of assessed valuation and that is in addition to all other property taxes imposed by the school corporation for the purpose of funding safe transportation of students, to maintain safe and secure schools, reduce the class sizes and attract and retain teachers and staff for our children?

Now, let's break that down.

This is what's called an operational referendum.

The school corporation says it needs the money to operate day-to-day.

It would come strictly through property taxes and must stay in place for eight years.

And the addition is "Outside the state-mandated property tax cap."

LINK | VCSC TO BEGIN PUBLIC MEETINGS ON REFERENDUM

So, everyone would pay. Homeowners, renters, commercial property owners, and agricultural property owners.

The taxpayer impact breaks down like this: If your home has a gross assessment value of $100,000, your yearly property taxes would go up a little more than $53.

That is about $4.50 more a month.

Superintendent Dr. Rob Haworth says if you vote yes to the referendum, it should bring $7 million into the corporation each year for eight years.

That money will go toward paying people inside the schools, first...for student protection.

"After Sandy Hook, the school district responded with placing student protection officers in every building. Multiples in junior highs or middle schools and high schools. We've grown our protection officers from eight to 38," Haworth said.

If the referendum is approved, $1.4 million a year will go to pay for school protection officers in every school.

Remember, there were only eight officers on staff in 2012.

$300,000 a year would go to pay behavior interventionists or guidance counselors.

18 counselors have been added to the corporation since 2015. A role that's evolved to help children with family and social issues.

"The school guidance counselors are doing more than just scheduling. They are trying to help children that may be broken in some way, so for the expense, it's over $5 million to pay for additional guidance counselors that have been added," Haworth said.

$3 million of the referendum would go to teacher compensation.

The hope is that money will help attract and keep good teachers in the corporation.

$260,000 would go to school nurses. The corporation has doubled the number of nurses on staff since 2015.

LINK | TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION ENDORSES VIGO COUNTY SCHOOLS' REFERENDUM

$1 million from the tax increase would be used on transportation. About 12,000 students use school buses every day.

Right now, the corporation s using its cash balance to pay for transportation.

Superintendent Haworth says if the referendum fails, there would likely be redistricting, school consolidation, or even some school closures to save money.

Right now, the corporation s looking closely at where cuts can be made.

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