Taxpayers Question Referendum Wording

Zionsville Referendum Will Be On November Ballot

Some in Zionsville are raising concerns about the wording of a school referendum that, if passed, could cost taxpayers more than $40 million over seven years.

Members of an anti-referendum group called Zionsville Taxpayers for Responsible Education said the referendum is confusing and misleading, 6News' Kara Kenney reported.

"For the seven calendar years immediately following the holding of the referendum, shall the school corporation impose a property tax rate that does not exceed twenty nine and one half cents on each $100 of assessed valuation and that is in addition to all other property tax levies imposed by the school corporation," the referendum reads.

"There's some confusion in there," said group member Pete Heles. "There are shalls and nots, and there's some mixed context in there."

The intent of the referendum is to add up to 29.5 cents to the current tax rate of $1.29 per $100 of assessed value.

"It can be read as though it's limiting a tax that's already imposed, but it's imposing a new tax," said group member Jeff Basch.

Mary Jane Michalak with the Department of Local Government Finance, which has oversight on capital projects referendums not for operating referendums like Zionsville's, said the town's question follows the law.

But Heles and Basch said they think the law needs to be changed to provide more oversight and clearer referendum questions.

"Any changes to the statute would need to come through the General Assembly," Michalak said.

Heles and Basch said they have contacted representatives and other officials.

Records obtained by 6News show the district spent at least $450 to attend a workshop last fall on how to win a referendum.

If the referendum is approved Nov. 2, taxpayers in Zionsville would pay $480 a year more on their tax bill for a $300,000 house.

Zionsville Schools Superintendent Scott Robison and CFO Mike Shafer did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

More Information: Referendum Impact Calculator