INDIANAPOLIS - Decatur Township residents could soon be paying higher taxes in order to keep school buses running in the district.
On Tuesday night, the Metropolitan School District of Decatur Township School Board approved a referendum for the May ballot that proposes a 29-cent increase in local property taxes beginning in 2015.
Officials said the increase would generate more than $3.85 million every year and would mean the average homeowner would pay an additional $7 every month.
Decatur Township leaders said they are currently facing a $2.5 million annual budget shortfall, and unless the referendum passes, they will be forced to shut down the school bus system.
"Our losses to the property tax caps are getting larger every year," Superintendent Matt Prusiecki said. "We have to look for long-term solutions to the budget shortfall. Passing the referendum provides the district with a seven-year solution. If residents of Decatur Township choose to invest in the referendum, we will not need to pursue, or even consider, discontinuing transportation. But if the referendum fails, we have to give notice now to prepare to discontinue transportation in 2017."
Muncie recently proposed a similar referendum to pay for their buses, but residents voted it down.