In three Northwest Indiana school districts, there are tax referendums on the ballot today. The future of your schools and property values, as well as your property tax bills, is at stake.
The School Town of Munster seeks an increase of 19.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which would yield an estimated $3 million per year for seven years.
Munster's per-pupil state support is ranked near the bottom, about $1,000 per student less than the state average, because so few Munster students receive free and reduced price lunches.
Metropolitan School District of Boone Township, which operates the Hebron schools, seeks the maximum increase of 23 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which would yield an estimated $530,000 per year for seven years.
The district's assessed value is so low that a higher rate won't bring nearly as much revenue. Boone Township has open enrollment, which has brought 79 additional students -- and more state support -- to the district this year.
Union Township School Corp. wants an increase of just less than 22 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which would yield $1 million per year for seven years.
The actual impact on each property owner depends on the value of the property and whether homestead and other deductions apply.
In each of these three districts, among others, the real issue is inadequate state support for traditional public schools. In Munster's case, the extra property taxes would bring the school district's revenue back up to where it was before the state took over support for school operations.
We urge voters in those school districts to go to the polls to cast their votes. Decide what is more important -- lower taxes, at the expense of threatened additional school budget cuts, or additional funding for schools.
And then press the Indiana General Assembly for a more equitable distribution of school funding. That's where the long-term solution lies.