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School City of Hobart

Successful communities revisit, and in some cases refine or renew, investments in their future.

Hobart and Hammond are on the cusp of such a situation as voters are being asked, through referendum, to approve targeted tax revenues for public schools in those cities.

We can think of no better way for residents in either community to reaffirm investment in one of the most important roles of local government than voting "yes" on these measures at the Nov. 7 polls — or right now through early voting.

Though each city school district has its own purpose and dollar amounts behind the respective referendums, it all boils down to a question of renewed investment aimed at building quality school facilities and programs for the future.

School City of Hobart

Hobart school officials are asking voters to approve two separate referendums, one that would generate $2 million annually for six years in new operating funds for classroom programs and student transportation needs and another to raise $41 million in capital funds for building a new elementary school and a high school pool.

The new school, to be located at 52 N. Wisconsin St., is being designed with the district's current and future capacity needs in mind.

Its ultimate 550- to 600-student capacity is projected to alleviate overcrowding issues at Joan Martin Elementary School while planning for future students.

A new high school pool will allow aquatics programs there to be held in-house. Currently, high school aquatics students must travel to the middle school pool.

The high school also has plans for financially sustaining the pool by leasing it out for special events. Such events also can be beneficial to the community's economic development.

And the availability of the pool to the general public under some circumstances could boost the city's quality of life offerings.

Strong schools with modernized and maintained facilities are what attract new residents to a municipality. Hobart's plans deserve the support of voters.

The school district also has proven a responsible steward of public money. Refinancing the high school building costs, for example, reportedly saved the school district millions.

The school corporation also notes that a taxpayer with a home valued at $128,600 will pay no additional monthly taxes if the referendum is approved. That's because some of the referendum dollars would fill a void left by state property tax caps — and because of fiscal planning by the school district.

School City of Hammond

The School City of Hammond also is seeking the approval of two separate referendums by city residents.

One would generate $70 million in total operating costs while the other would garner $110.6 million for capital improvements.

Central to the success of our urban core and the Region's biggest city, Hammond schools face challenges of remaining competitive in an environment in which prospective residents have plenty of public and private school choices.

Residents should see an opportunity for renewing investment in their schools as a chance to create or retain a competitive edge.

A big portion of the referendum money being sought would build a new middle/high school on the grounds of the existing high school.

Hammond High School has served students for more than 100 years, but issues of safety, efficiency and obsolescence are prompting school officials to propose replacing the old structure.

We all should be able to appreciate the safety and quality-learning concerns.

The Times Editorial Board also appreciates that in addition to the new high school, the capital plan of the referendum has slated improvements for each school within the district.

In an age of static or declining resources, we've all become familiar with the admonition of "doing more with less."

But too much scrimping in such an important realm as public education threatens to leave our most valuable assets — children — behind while making municipalities less attractive to current or prospective residents.

Both Hobart and Hammond voters have the opportunity to move the needle in the right direction by voting "yes."


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Assistant Local News Editor Crista Zivanovic and Regional News Editor Sharon Ross.