Hebron school referendum fails by 4 votes

2013-05-07T20:05:00Z 2013-05-08T00:31:04Z Hebron school referendum fails by 4 votesBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

Residents of Boone Township said "No" Tuesday to a referendum seeking a property tax hike to help the Hebron school system make up for state cuts in education funding.

The referendum failed by a vote of 547 to 543.

The Metropolitan School District of Boone Township in Hebron asked for an increase of 23 cents per $100 in assessed valuation, which would generate an additional $530,000 annually, Superintendent George Letz has said.

Other districts can generate much more with that size increase, but Boone Township has a low assessed valuation, which compounds the problem of the state funding cuts, he has said. The low assessed value contributes to a school tax rate of $1.81 and a level of school debt that far outpaces the other six districts in the county.

The proposed increase, which would have been outside the tax caps, would have added $77 in taxes to a home valued at $100,000 and $229 to a $200,0000 home.

Letz said before deciding to ask voters for more money, the district cut teaching, custodial and administrative positions, and is poised to refinance its debt to save money through lower interest rates.

He has said if the referendum is not approved, the district will have to cut nine teachers — three at each of the elementary, middle and high school levels. This will result in more students per classroom, particularly at the middle school.

Boone Township schools has 1,112 students and 4,500 voters in its district.


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