Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Truth Reports How Children are Educated at Stake in May Primary for Elkhart and Concord Schools' Referendums

From the Elkhart Truth:

ISTEP testing starts this week for Hoosier students, including those in Elkhart County.

They'll sit at computers and takes tests that assess their academics.

It's a big test. And it's a big deal. It's been called a high-stakes test.

But another high-stakes test will be put before Elkhart County adults on May 6.

That's the date of the primary election in Elkhart County. And for Elkhart County children, there has probably never been a primary election day that's this important.

How children and teens are educated and protected in our community hinges on what happens on a week from Tuesday.

Concord and Elkhart schools systems are both going to voters with school referendums. More than half - 54 percent of Elkhart County voters - can vote in one of the two referendums.

Residents in either district are assessing whether the school system needs the money for which it's asking. The state's property tax caps are prompting schools to find new ways to fund annual budgets.

Elkhart Community Schools officials are seeking $47 million. Passing both parts of the referendum would raise taxes for 13 cents to 18 cents per $100 valuation for seven years and 5 cents per $100 assessed valuation for the next 12 years. Officials have said it'll cost the average resident in its district the equivalent of a Big Mac every month.

Concord Community Schools officials are asking for yes votes to get $28 million. The tax rate would go up 40 cents per $100 assessed valuation, raising taxes at least $10 a month for homeowners and more than $50 a month for some over the next seven years.

If you believe that the schools need the money and you owe it to Elkhart and Concord students to help, you should go vote yes.

If you believe that the schools should find ways to live within their means, you should go vote no.

But either way, you should vote. There's too much at stake to not vote. How our community educates approximately 18,000 students will change based on the results on May 6.