Board approves resolution for May referendum

Property tax hike could generate $9.6 million per year

The Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township Board of Education has approved a property tax referendum for the May 5 ballot. The referendum would generate an additional $9.6 million per year for seven years for the school district.

The monies would permit the district to close the $8 million gap in its general fund brought on by decreases in assessed valuation and property tax caps over the past decade. Money generated by the referendum would also allow the district to replace the general fund dollars currently spent on transportation and preventive maintenance.

The additional revenues will permit the district to continue to provide services that contribute to its students’ multiple successes. Examples include increased letter grades, a climbing graduation rate, and a 2015 National Title 1 School of Distinction.

A number of factors over the past decade have converged to create a severe decrease in funding for MSD Wayne:

  • $60 million in lost property tax revenue since 2008 due to state-imposed limits
  • $1 billion drop (31%) in assessed valuation of property in the MSD of Wayne Township
  • $8.7 million loss in revenue from the phase-out of funds for desegregation
  • Possible loss of $435,000 in annual Homestead Credit and possible loss of $3.5 million in Business Personal Property Tax.

Since 2009, school districts in Indiana, similar to those in the surrounding states, have had a new option for closing the funding gap created by property tax caps.  Anticipating the reduction in funding that would come with reduced property tax revenue, MSD Wayne began the first of several rounds of budget cuts in 2007. Since then, the district has reduced its workforce, largely through retirements, by 99 positions. Together, the cost-cutting measures begun in 2007 now add up to annual savings of $14.5 million and a cumulative total of $30 million.

The referendum that will appear on the May 5 ballot will ask voters to increase property taxes by 35 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. For the median homeowner in MSD Wayne, this will represent an increase of $7.83 per month.

The MSD Wayne Board of Education approved the resolution for the referendum at its regularly scheduled January 26 meeting. For more information on MSD Wayne’s referendum, individuals may visit MSD Wayne is unaware of any organized opposition to the referendum.