Voters weigh in on Hamilton County school expansion referenda

Fishers, HSE, Noblesville projects approved

FISHERS, Ind. - Voters went to the polls in Hamilton County on Tuesday to decide whether to authorize property tax hikes to finance school construction projects.

Voting officials said that turnout was light early in the day, as expected. The two referenda were the only issues on the ballot.

In Fishers, voters approved a $95 million property tax increase to fund the expansion of Hamilton Southeastern High School and Fishers High School. The measure passed with 67.87 percent of the vote.

Without it, district officials said that portable classrooms would likely be needed because of swelling enrollment at the two schools.

The construction will allow for an extra 1,000 students at both high schools.

Two previous property tax increases worth $100 million have passed easily for HSE, but opponents said it presents an unfair burden on select taxpayers.

The $95 million property tax increase will be funded by people who own homes valued at $230,000 or more. Those taxes will go up between $159 and $282 a year.

"That's about 35 percent of the homeowners in the Fishers area will share the burden for 100 percent of the residents, and that is inequitable," said Dennis Lamb, who opposes the referendum. "I don't care what they plan on doing. They might as well stop right there if that's the way you're going to unfairly collect the money necessary to do anything for the school system."

Voters in Noblesville approved a $28 million referendum to expand the high school and relocate some students to a freshman campus. The referendum passed with 68.48 percent of voters' support.

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