Hamilton Southeastern district eyes referendum for tax hike to raise $95M for classroom construction
Many residents express support for hike
Last Updated: 60 days ago
FISHERS, Ind. - The Hamilton Southeastern school district is looking to raise $95 million to build more classrooms, starting with a May 7 referendum.
The district says the high schools will be over capacity soon, and that's why they need the money for what they're calling senior academies -- non-traditional classrooms to be used mostly by seniors, though all students would have access to the space.
Dozens listened to a presentation given Wednesday night by Superintendent Brian Smith.
"This should make us good for about 10 years in terms of capacity, and really this is not about growth. This is about students that are already here," Smith told the crowd.
Smith says the additional classrooms will make it possible for each high school to add a thousand students.
"So we have these huge groups moving up through the system, and we're graduating smaller classes, so it's just a matter of putting bigger classes in, and we need to be ready for those," he said.
The $95 million they need would come from increases in property taxes for people who live in homes valued more than $230,000.
Those homeowners would pay between $159 and $282 per year.
Attendees at the meeting expressed support for the measure.
"Totally worth it to me if it means that the kids have what they need, we have enough teachers, we have enough classrooms and they're not in portable (classrooms)," said Deborah Goldman, who has three students in the district. "I one in a portable when he was in elementary school; it's not fun."
"I'm 100 percent for it," said Wilbur McVay, who has two students in the district. "We moved here for the schools, and there's no reason not to support them after we're here, so I'll tell everybody I know to vote for it."
Smith says the alternative to building new classrooms is not ideal.
"If this doesn't pass, if this referendum doesn't pass, we'll have to buy about 84 portable classrooms to accommodate students at our two high schools," he said.
The additions would include space for performing arts and athletics, and infrastructure and maintenance costs are also included.
If the referendum passes, construction will start this summer to be completed by 2015.
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