NOBLESVILLE, Ind. -- With the school shooting from earlier this year still fresh on their minds, voters in the Noblesville School District will have to decide whether to approve a $50 million referendum aimed at improving school safety.
The money will be used for mental health initiatives, increasing safety and teacher salaries in the district over the next eight years.
District leaders made the decision to replace the 2016 referendum, worth $42 million, this summer after the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School earlier this year where a student and teacher were critically injured.
A median Noblesville home valued at $206,000 right now pays $192 based on what voters approved in 2016. The new 2018 rate would cost those same homeowners nearly double at $376 per year.
The mental health initiatives that would be covered by the increase include screening students for suicide, anger, trauma and adding mentoring programs.
The school system would also hire a district mental health coordinator, 10 new social workers, more counselors, eight additional school resource officers and a full-time district safety director.
The money would also be used to purchase new safety equipment for the schools including additional security cameras, door barricading products for 1,500 classrooms and officers, better lockdown tools, specially trained gun detection dogs in each school and enhanced video systems on more than 100 school buses.
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The school district also plans to use some of that funding to start paying their teachers better. Leaders say Noblesville teachers are earning $10,000 less than those in neighboring districts.
If the referendum doesn’t pass, the district says they will pick the changes they feel are most vital to make, but they won’t be able to make all of the safety changes they would like.
If approved, the 2018 referendum would provide funding through 2026.
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