Hobart referendum #2

Hobart school board members Don Rogers, left, Rikki Guthrie and Terry Butler, right, stop at the Abundant Life Tabernacle in Hobart Tuesday, one of several polling places in the city.

The past week marked an important step in the reinforcement of a core community value in our Region – investing in quality education.

On Tuesday, voters in the School City of Hammond and the School City of Hobart approved separate referendums authorizing the raising of more property tax revenue for the respective school districts.

Both school districts now will receive a vital investment in the future of students in those communities.

Of those who voted, the mandate for investing in the future of our most import Region assets — our children — was clear.

In Hobart, that means another $2 million annually for six years in new operating funds for classroom programs and student transportation needs will flow to the school district. It also means $41 million in new capital funds for building an elementary school and constructing a high school swimming pool, which will benefit the entire community.

In Hammond, voters are sending an additional $70 million in total operating costs and another $110.6 million for capital improvements.

School officials who made their case for the referendums deserve praise for clearly communicating the pressing needs and vision for future growth of their respective districts. Hobart schools Superintendent Peggy Buffington was a particularly clear and efficient communicator to her constituents, and this editorial board, on the merits of her district’s referendum.

The Hammond and Hobart school referendums join a host of other school funding questions passed by voters in recent years, including the approval of new public school revenue in the Munster, Lake Station, Crown Point, Cedar Lake, Lake Central, River Forest, Hanover, Duneland, Union Township, Boone Township and Valparaiso districts.

Just as important as the new revenue this means for enhancing and investing in Northwest Indiana education is what it says about residents in those communities.

Quality schools clearly attract new residents and contribute to sense of place and quality of life.

It's encouraging to see Region residents acting on those concepts.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editorial Page Editor Marc Chase, Editor Bob Heisse, Politics/History Editor Doug Ross and Managing Editor Erin Orr.