VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Vigo County voters have voted to approve a referendum to pay a higher property tax to support the Vigo County School Corporation.
In total, more than 23,000 people voted on this question. 54 percent approved and almost 46 percent voted against.
STATEMENT ON TUESDAY NIGHT’S REFERENDUM VOTE
VIGO COUNTY SCHOOL CORPORATION THANKS COMMUNITY FOR INPUT, INVESTMENT
The Vigo County School Corporation thanks the community for their investment in the safety, security, and health of our students and staff. Our funding isn’t keeping up with inflation, and with declining enrollment, this vote was vital to the financial health of our schools.
Over the course of over 50 meetings, we listened to our community’s priorities. Tuesday’s vote on the referendum means that we can continue our recent investments in safety, security, and health. It also means that we can dedicate $3 million per year to making our teacher compensation more competitive with area districts. Our transportation budget is also impacted by tax caps each year, and $1 million of this referendum will help offset those losses.
This referendum is a bridge to our future, and we will continue to seek community input as we make spending cuts to adjust our budget to declining enrollment. We are still moving forward with millions of dollars of spending cuts and revenue enhancement to adapt to our current funding. This referendum allows us to make those decisions in a reasonable timeframe and seek community input along the way.
We look forward to continuing this conversation with our community. Ultimately, we believe that a strong school system can help spark growth in Vigo County.
Because of this win, the district will only have to make $4 million in budget cuts, instead of $8 million.
"The first thing that jumps to my mind is being thankful...thankful that we have a community that supports our students and supports our staff. Just very grateful that we were given this bridge...that we've talked about what seems like so long ago now," Superintendent Rob Haworth told us.
Haworth told us the property tax increase will not start until 2020. He told us passing this referendum is only the start and the district has a long way to go.
The school corporation said it needs this money to operate day-to-day.
Since the referendum passed, it will stay in place for eight-years. This referendum will impact everyone in Vigo County, homeowners, renters, commercial property owners, and agricultural property owners.
In a poll we conducted last month, 56 percent of you said you would vote yes on this referendum.
With the money, the school corporation says it plans to use $1.4 million a year to pay for school resource officer, $300,000 per year for behavior interventionists or guidance counselors, $3 million for teacher compensation, $260,000 for school nurses, and $1 million for transportation.