FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — “This allows us to attract and retain talent.”
That’s how Park Ginder, Ph.D. and Superintendent of Southwest Allen County Schools, made a pitch to voters to pass a property tax renewal.
Ginder said teacher pay in the district is already high and the steady revenue stream provided by the taxpayer-supported operating referendum would keep the district’s competitive advantage, which he said benefits students.
“We can bring new people into our district earlier in the school year by posting jobs and letting people know that there are great professional opportunities here,” he added.
According to the YES! for SACS political action committee, SACS has operated since 1985 with the assistance of the referendum, which funnels tax dollars to only salaries and benefits of personnel.
A ballot measure with the same rate passed in 2016 with 72% of the vote. A “yes” vote would renew the 15 cents per $100 of assessed home value for the years 2023-2030.
However, the 2016 measure capped the total collection at $3.5 million, which was roughly nine cents per $100.
The group’s data showed possible monthly increases of $4 for a $200,000 home to $14 for a $600,000 home up to $26 for a $1 million home.
The group said the money would retain 43 teachers, one police officer and two guidance counselors. It would add 14 new teachers, two police officers, seven guidance counselors/social workers, and three administrative and support positions.
The group’s flyer said state law now requires percentages about a school’s average property tax revenue, among other things, to be included in the ballot language. The flyer tried to swat down any worry that homeowner property taxes would increase by 23.2% or business’ taxes would go up by 21.7%, since those numbers appear in the referendum.
Shall Southwest Allen County Schools continue to impose increased property taxes paid to the school corporation by homeowners and businesses for eight (8) years immediately following the holding of the referendum for the purpose of funding a continuation of the current class sizes, student services and school safety at a continued maximum tax rate not to exceed $0.1500 per one hundred dollars ($100) of assessed valuation. The property tax increase requested in this referendum was originally approved by voters in May 2016, and originally increased the average property tax paid to the school corporation per year on a residence within the school corporation by 23.2% and originally increased the property tax paid to the school corporation per year on a business property within the school corporation by 21.7%.SACS Referendum Renewal Ballot Question – November 8th, 2022
The group also said SACS ranks 355 out of 372 schools in state funding on a per-pupil basis.
They cite a National Bureau of Economic Research statistic that claims “for every $1 spent on school funding, property values increase by around $20.”
The measure will appear on the November 8 ballot.