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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments


Despite the savings realized by the changes the East Allen County Schools board recently approved, the district says it needs $8 million a year more to meet all its financial needs, so it's seeking that it a referendum. What are the chances it will  pass? Just going by the statistics, slightly less than 50 percent:

Since the law's passing, voters have approved only 43 percent of all school funding referenda, according to a study by Indiana University's Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, or CEEP. There have been 42 referenda votes since the law passed with 18 passing and 24 failing.

In 2008, 80 percent of the referenda proposed passed; in 2009, only 28.6 percent passed, with a total of 21 placed on ballots throughout the state; and so far this year, 50 percent have passed. There are 13 school systems who have a referendum on the November ballot. Statewide, 16 were voted on in May, with eight of them passing.

Forty-three percent isn't bad considering the predictions by some in the education establishment that sending projects to a vote by those stingy, selfish voters would result in a 100 percent failure rate. If voters can be convinved the project is needed and too much isn't being sought -- they're being offered value for their money, in other words -- chances are they'll approve.


Phil Marx
Tue, 10/12/2010 - 12:32am

Well, if 43% would approve $8 mil, then perhaps they could get a few more voters on board by lowering it a bit. Maybe a majority would pass if they lowered it to $6 mil.

Of course, if they are going to use this tactic then they should have started by claiming they actually needed $10 mil. That way the $2 mil drop to get more people to approve it would then leave them at the $8 mil they really wanted.

Now that I think about it, they probably already incorporated this into their plans. They really only need $6 mill, but they asked for 8 so that dropping to what they actually want will seem like less.

Geniuses they are!

By the way, does that report correlate pass/fail with the amount requested?

Leo Morris
Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:49am

How it affected them mattered. From the report: "For General Fund referenda in 2009, the average increase in property taxes per $100 assessed valuation was $0.21. For the four of these referenda that passed, the average increase was lower. at $0.19, and for the two referenda that failed, the average increase was higher ... at $0.25. ... voters were more likely to approve a referendum the less it impacted their taxes." And they were less likely to approve construction referenda, "seeing those projects as more of a want than a need." Interesting reading throughout.