Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Times Reports Hebron Schools Give Referendum Another Spin

From the Northwest Indiana Times:

Given approval earlier Tuesday by the Porter County Election Board, the Hebron School Board voted Tuesday night to put a referendum on the May 6 primary ballot.

With board member Don Fry opposed, the School Board voted 4-1 to seek a $479,315 increase in the school property tax levy through the year 2021. Based on the district's assessed value of $228 million, the increase will be 21 cents per $100 of assessed value on individual properties.

The board's financial consultant, Curt Pletcher, a partner with H. J. Umbaugh and Associates, said the levy would cost the owner of a $155,000 home $144 a year. He said $155,000 is the median price of homes in the district.

The cost for a $100,000 home would be about $69 a year.

The district sought a $530,000 increase at the 2013 primary but lost by four votes.

Resident Ken Shelhart spoke against the new levy, saying the previous defeat was an indication people are tired of taxes. He complained that 84 students attend Hebron schools but live in another township, and their parents' property taxes don't go to the district.

"I can't go to my boss and ask for more money," Shelhart said. "If everybody pays their fair share, I will pay mine. It's not fair to go back (for another referendum) the following year. You guys have got to give us a break."

Stephanie Mathews, a parent and substitute teacher, said she is "totally for it" because classes have 30 students or more and she doesn't know what else can be cut to make ends meet.

"I don't think people know how much the government has taken away from the schools," Mathews said. "It's not their (the board's) fault. It's the Indiana government."