Monday, February 17, 2014

Star Reports Parents Push Mt. Vernon Referendum

From the Indianapolis Star:

Two Hancock County fathers are leading the charge for a referendum on the May ballot they say would erase a $4.5 million deficit in the Mt. Vernon school corporation's general fund and put the school district back on financial track.

Property owners would be asked to provide the district $2.5 million over three years — $833,000 per year — "to pay off some remaining debt that was incurred due to the economic downturn, the implementation of property tax caps and changes in school funding from the state," said school board president Tony May.

The Mt. Vernon School Board voted Jan. 27 to seek the referendum proposed by McCordsville fathers Larry Longman and Jeff Mull.

District officials already have cut budgets to bare bones, said Longman. The district has suffered from teacher layoffs and other cost-cutting measures, he said.

"Class sizes have gotten bigger. Good teachers have started leaving after going without raises," Longman said. "Worst of all, the cuts have started to show up on test scores (at several district schools), which have gone down. I'm just a concerned parent with no other notion but to make sure our schools are healthy out here."

Under the terms of the referendum, the owner of a $100,000 home would pay an additional $36.03 in property taxes for three years, Longman said. The additional annual payment for the owner of a $200,000 home would be $107.53. The district has posted an online calculator at that spell out tax impacts for a range of home values.