Results of property tax referendum votes in the Region are mixed after Tuesday’s elections in four area school districts asked patrons to raise school funding.
The referendum votes in northwest Indiana asked voters to raise their property taxes to increase school funding by adding approximately 20-cents of taxes per $100 of assessed property valuation.
Union Township, with Wheeler High School, passed its referendum along with Munster voters in Lake County. Neither Knox Schools Corporation in Starke County nor Boone Township Schools, with Hebron High School, in Porter County got enough support to increase property taxes for those schools.
Indiana’s Fourth District State Senator Karen Tallian says school vouchers are diverting $40-million from public schools while recessionary budget cuts will cause half of Indiana’s public schools to get less money in 2014 than they did in 2009. “We had cuts during the recession, and everybody, you know, they weren’t happy about it, but they knew it had to happen. Now we seem to be out of recession, and those cuts have not been fully restored.”
Munster’s 19.9-cent tax increase per $100 of assessed property valuation should raise $3-million to keep teachers and elementary physical education, art and music. In Porter County, Union Township voters’ property tax increase of 22-cents per $100 assessed valuation should raise $1-million per year to keep teachers, support staff and fine arts programs.