Thursday, September 12, 2013

Star Press Reports "Bus" Referedum Dominates Muncie's Town Hall

From the Muncie Star-Press:

An upcoming “bus” referendum vote drew more people to the microphone during Wednesday night’s Muncie Community Schools town hall meeting.

The town hall at Wilson Middle School was the third of four public meetings designed to get feedback from the community on the future of the district, but many of the speakers chose to voice their opinions on the Nov. 5 referendum.

All board members, as well as some top district administrators, were seated on the auditorium stage.
Supt. Tim Heller, wearing a yellow “vote yes” button, said that without a referendum, school buses will not run for the 2013-14 school year.

More spoke in favor of the referendum. Bea Sousa of the League of Women Voters made it clear the league supports the referendum, saying that it believes - after looking at the “incredibly complicated” world of school finances - that “Muncie had no other option than the Nov. 5 referendum.”

State representative Sue Errington also spoke out in favor of the referendum.

The league as well as others handed out “yes” fliers before the meeting. “No” fliers were also available.

Local business owner Chris Hiatt called the referendum approach by the league and MCS “fear mongering,” and said the tax increase would hurt the very people it was designed to help - those in poverty who would not be able to transport their kids to school.

He said the majority of them do not own, but rent their homes, and their rent would go up if the referendum passes.

Some speakers had questions about the referendum. A few were answered.

Heller clarified the referendum is now “totally for transportation.” It no longer contains technology and building repairs.

Chief Financial Officer Mark Burkhart noted that the district is now looking for about $3.2 million instead of $6 million and that the tax rate would reflect that. Burkhart said the maximum rate they could levy would be $.3939 per every $100 of assessed property value.