Terry Butler

Terry Butler

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Thank you so much for making Hobart your home. Like you, I agree that our community is a great place to call home. A major reason is the quality of our public schools in the School City of Hobart.

Time after time, families, business owners and realtors tell me our schools contribute to the vitality and quality of life in Hobart. Simply put, better schools make a better community. Better Hobart schools make a better Hobart for this and future generations.

On Nov. 7, we have a chance to make an investment in our future that will benefit all Hobart residents. I ask you and other voters to support the Hobart school referendums by voting “Yes” for Hobart. Your support will enable us to build a new elementary school and to finally put a pool for both student and community use at the high school, as well as to keep the revenue for operating expenditures the same with the upcoming tax caps coming in 2020.

The best part? We can make these investments without an increase in the property tax rate for all of us who live in Hobart. Those investments will protect our community’s assets and help our schools provide and prepare our kids for the challenges of the jobs and educational opportunities of the future.

I have been fortunate to serve as a member of the Board of School Trustees since 2001. That experience has helped me better understand the impact of state funding reductions on our schools.

Back in 2009, state funding reductions resulted in more than $1.2 million less allocated to our school district to help our kids prepare for the high-tech jobs of the global economy. We worked diligently to adjust for these permanent cuts without going to the taxpayers for relief.

In 2020, Lake and St. Joseph counties will face the outcomes of the 2008 state-imposed property tax caps. This will result in $2 million in lost revenue for operations in the district. While the district has been fiscally responsible, cutting that amount would not serve children. It would mean chipping away at programs such as athletics, performing arts, early college classes and transportation services.

We sought a solution that would be tax neutral. By levying for .24 in 2020 when people’s tax bills go down because of the 1 percent tax cap, we can regenerate that $2 million in revenue and operate exactly the same.

I have seen the impact of great schools. All four of my children attended the School City of Hobart from kindergarten through graduation. They learned character lessons, classroom skills and benefited from outstanding teachers, staff and administrators that prepared them for life after high school.

With your support, we will maintain our high academic standards for our Brickies by providing funding that invests and protects our assets in a fiscal manner.

We are proud of our community and proud of our schools. We have worked to make sure all our actions are open, transparent and designed to ensure everything possible is done to "do more with less."

On Nov. 7, your “Yes” vote will be an investment in the future of Hobart and will not result in a property tax rate increase for our residents. And, your investment does one more thing: It shows that you agree our community deserves quality educational opportunities for this and future generations of young people and the families that call our community their home.

Please vote “Yes” for Hobart on Nov. 7.

Terry Butler is president of the School City of Hobart Board of School Trustees. The opinions are the writer's.

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