FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Since 1985, the Southwest Allen County School District has had some type of referendum support. As election day approaches, the Southwest Allen County School District prepares for a referendum renewal on the ballot this year.

Anyone who lives in the district will have the options to vote yes or no on the proposed 15 cents per $100 of assessed property value referendum. Voters first approved the referendum in 2009 and renewed it in 2016. Now it’s up for a renewal vote again.

Right now, the tax is capped at 9 cents for every $100 of assessed property value. If it’s renewed, the new referendum would remove that cap, putting the tax at 15 cents. For someone with a $300,000 home, that’s $6 more per month.

According to Park Ginder, PH.D. and Superintendent of Southwest Allen County Schools, the new referendum would allow the district to add 26 new jobs, which would include 14 new teachers, two police officers, six guidance counselors, a social worker, and three administrative and support positions. The current referendum supports 43 jobs in the district.

“Failure to renew would immediately cause us to have to cut positions, which would cause class sizes particularly at the elementary level to grow and at the secondary level to probably have to cancel programs that are unique to our schools,” Ginder said.

Southwest Allen Board Member Jennifer Bennett says the referendum will provide students with what they need.

“We want to give them every opportunity that we can to succeed, and that starts with our parents, goes to our teachers, to the administration up to the superintendent,” Bennett said.

Every property owner who lives in the school district pays the tax, whether they have students or not. Katrina Hall with the Indiana Farm Bureau says for farmers, a referendum renewal will dip deeper into their pockets. Some farmers feel it’s more of the state’s responsibility to fund education.

“A property tax referendum is not necessarily the thing farmers or other property owners are all that excited about, primarily because the state several years ago pledged to take over the operating expenses of schools when they increased the sales tax,” Hall said.

However, the “Yes for SACS” group says current funding has not kept pace with the area’s growth and development. Southwest Allen County Schools is in the bottom 5 percent in the state for funding per student.

And even if you don’t have students attending the district, school officials say the tax paid through the referendum will benefit all property owners.

“Statistics show that for every dollar spent in a referendum like this, $20 comes back in home value,” Ginder said.

Ginder added that the money brought in will not go toward the Homestead High School Construction Project, purchasing property, or fixing buildings. He says this is about supporting people.

“Bringing, attracting and retaining teachers to our district and then also the support services and personnel that are necessary on a daily basis to have great schools,” Ginder said.

The day to vote will be Tuesday, Nov. 8. For more information on the referendum renewal, click here.