Voters Decide School Funding Referendum Elections
Three area school districts are using property tax referendums in an effort to increase school funding. Voters in Munster, and Boone and Union Township school districts cast votes Tuesday to increase school funding or keep property taxes the same. Affected superintendents say the fight to preserve excellence in education in Wheeler, Hebron and Munster school districts rests with voters. Munster Superintendent Richard Sopko says a property tax increase of 19.9-cents per $100 of assessed valuation will help keep class sizes down and athletics ongoing. “Munster is 355th out of 363 school (systems) in the state in terms of per pupil funding. We’re $4,700 per student. Some schools are $8900 per student. We can’t maintain our programs or standard of excellence with that type of funding.”
Education is also at a critical stage for MSD Boone Township, where Superintendent George Letz says they, too, face larger class sizes if more money is not funneled into the district. Voters in Hebron are choosing whether to raise property taxes to 23-cents per $100 of assessed valuation. “Those nine teachers come to about $530,000, which is exactly what the referendum would give us for five years.”
Union Township Superintendent John Hunter is calling on voters there to increase taxes to 22-cents per $100 dollars assessed valuation. Hunter says he anticipates assessed valuations will increase next year, so the amount taxed could be less. “We’re not going to go for 22 cents every year. Our goal is to balance our budget. If it takes a million, that’s what we’ll do. If it takes less, we’ll back off.”
Polls are open 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday. Porter County voting takes place in Union Township at the Shore Wood Club House, John Simatovich Elementary School and Wheeler High School. Boone Township voters go to Hebron Public Library and the community center. Munster residents vote at their regular polling locations.