Indianapolis voters approve multi-million dollar IPS referendums

Posted at 9:23 PM, Nov 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-07 00:46:22-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Voters approved two multi-million dollar referendums to help fund Indianapolis Public Schools on Election Day Tuesday.

One was a $220 million operating referendum, the other a $52 million capital improvement referendum.

“Indianapolis Public Schools is pleased to announce that both questions on the general election ballot passed. We are grateful to voters who supported this effort and will continue our drive to invest in teachers, make our schools safer and provide our students with an inspiring and rewarding education.”

Before the vote, IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee said IPS is critical to the vitality of Indianapolis, and the money would help students. 

“We are not able to make the critical facility updates that need to be made and with IPS portfolio of school buildings that are relatively old,” Ferebee said in October. “So if we kick the can on those needs, it is going to cost us more later.”

IPS is the largest school district in the state with more than 31,000 students and 88 schools.

The last IPS referendum was ten years ago, Ferebee said. 

“We have done a lot of work to be strong, financial stewards before we came back to the public to ask for additional dollars to a tax increase,” Ferebee said.

The capital improvement referendum was to fund improvements to safety at the schools with the following:

  • Enhanced exterior lighting
  • Technology upgrades
  • Hardened exteriors
  • Classroom safety upgrades
  • Upgraded emergency communication system

The $220 million operating referendum was to support teacher compensation. 

“There is a teacher shortage here in the state of Indiana and actually across the nation,” Ferebee said. “And we need to be competitive about our compensation. We raised salaries the last couple of years where we have invested $10 million in compensation and benefits for our employees. We want to continue to do that, we need to continue to do that.”

What did the vote mean for homeowners?

If your home’s gross assessed value is $123,500, you’ll pay an extra $110.07 in added taxes per year. 

The tax increases would be in effect for 8 years, with the possibility of IPS eventually requesting more.

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