INDIANAPOLIS -- A number of changes could be on the way to how and when you vote on a tax increase for your child’s school district.
Call 6 Investigates has learned of several bills filed in the Indiana General Assembly that would impact school referendums.
Legislation introduced by Rep. Jerry Torr (R-Carmel) would allow school districts to use their facilities, such as gyms and auditoriums to promote a “yes” vote. It is currently illegal to do so.
Dr. Brian Smith, executive director of the Indiana School Boards Association, said there is good reason for the change.
“This is something we have championed, because there are many school districts especially in rural communities where the schools are the only meeting places in town,” said Smith.
Torr said the goal of the legislation is not to give the opposition an unfair advantage.
"The intent of folks that asked me to do this isn't to do a vote no rally or anything like that, but to provide information,” said Torr. “As long as they're providing fair information, I think it's reasonable to provide a school facility to do that."
Other proposals on the table:
Requiring school districts to hold referendums only during general elections, rather than off years like 2017
Allow tax increases to extend for a maximum of eight years, rather than the current seven-year cap
Require a 700 day cooling-off period (under current law, districts have to wait about a year
Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Danville) said it can be very time consuming for districts and their opponents to deal with the referendum process year after year.
Voters could get a 350-day hiatus if they submit a petition.