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Indianapolis Public Schools Referendum 2018

You may have heard that IPS is pursuing Operating and Capital Improvement Referenda in May 2018. The MIBOR Government and Community Relations team has met with officials with IPS to gain more detail. The operating referendum is focused on funding to retain and recruit teachers, expand academic programs and provide support for students with special needs. The capital referendum is focused on facility renovations, safety  and security and energy efficient upgrades to reduce future operation costs.

MIBOR has long supported the success of our local school systems, as we know this is a key indicator on where a family will choose to buy a home. However, we must also weigh the potential impact to property taxes.

We will continue to gather detail and examine further with MIBOR members.

In the meantime, here are some FAQs compiled by the IPS team. Please also visit https://www.myips.org/learnmore to stay engaged.

Referendum FAQ

  • Is IPS pursuing a referendum?
    IPS will pursue operating and capital tax referenda in 2018. The IPS Board of School Commissioners hosted two public hearings during regularly scheduled Board of School Commissioners meetings at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12 and 14 at the John Morton-Finney Center for Educational Services. During the hearings, district representatives shared presentations and heard public comment. The referendum questions will be presented to voters in the IPS district during the 2018 primary, which is to be held on Tuesday, May 8.
  • Why is IPS pursuing a referendum?
    IPS must pursue referenda to continue providing the highest level of education to all students within the district. IPS has not sought a referendum since 2008. Six districts in Marion County have held successful operating referenda and four have won capital referenda within the same timeframe. IPS has cut overhead and operation costs but cannot continue to operate at a structural deficit.
  • What would the operating referendum fund?
    The operating referendum would generate $92 million as an annual allocation for eight calendar years and is needed for teacher attraction and retention, to expand academic programs and provide support for students with special needs. If passed, the operating referendum will allow the district to provide all employees with a two percent cost of living salary increase annually, maintain health care benefits as cost-neutral for employees and continue to provide excellent services for students with special needs.
  • What would the capital referendum fund?
    The capital referendum would generate a total of $200 million to fund the myIPS Safety, Security, and Technology Project, which calls for renovating and improving school facilities, making safety enhancements and upgrading classroom technology and equipment. If passed, the capital referendum will allow IPS to enhance the safety and security at all IPS-owned school facilities, address deferred maintenance needs and invest in energy efficient technology to reduce annual operating costs across the district. Examples of these investments include exterior lighting, technology upgrades and playground accessibility for students with special needs.
  • What will happen if these referenda are not funded?
    Without referendum funds, IPS could be forced to freeze teacher and employee compensation, reduce educational programs for students, reduce the quality of some services for students with special needs, continue to defer building maintenance and reduce transportation services.
  • I am a homeowner in the IPS district. How will the referenda impact me?
    If passed, the operating referendum proposes a local property levy of no more than $0.59 on each $100 of assessed valuation. The capital referendum calls for a local property levy of no more than $0.1384 per $100 of assessed valuation. The total monthly tax impact is projected to be $28.45 per month for the owner of a $123,500 home – the median home value within Indianapolis Public Schools, per the 2015 American Community Survey. This tax impact would depend on property value. These increases will apply only to property owners within the IPS district.
  • I don’t live in the IPS district, but my child attends an IPS school. How will this impact me?
    Because the tax increase would apply only to property owners with the IPS district, you would not be financially impacted by the referenda. IPS must pursue referenda to continue providing the highest level of education to all students within the district. Without referendum funds, IPS could be forced to freeze teacher and employee compensation, reduce educational programs for students, reduce the quality of some services for students with special needs, continue to defer building maintenance and reduce transportation services.
  • Why does the operating referendum allocate a percentage of funds to building and equipment maintenance?
    The building and equipment allocation in the operating referendum would fund day-to-day operations. The capital referendum would fund one-time initiatives through the myIPS Safety, Security, and Technology Project. This would include replacing exterior lighting, upgrading technology and making accessibility enhancements to playgrounds for students with special needs.
  • Why is the tax impact shown on a net assessed value for a home?
    We use this assumption because majority of residential property owners have applied for these credits and deductions or they are paying higher property taxes voluntarily since they are eligible for the credits/deductions. 
  • What percent of local taxes goes to IPS?
    The percent depends on the location of the property, as taxes vary by township, but generally IPS accounts for 35 to 45 percent of every dollar that goes into local taxes.
  • Is this related to the recent high school closures?
    The All-Choice High School Experience is an innovative approach to education enabling IPS to offer high-quality education to every student and right-size the district’s operational footprint. Property sales do provide one-time cash infusions to the district, but this is not enough to sustain the district operations. IPS must pursue referenda to continue providing the highest level of education to all students within the district.
  • How do I register to vote?
    For more information on voter registration, visit Indiana’s statewide voter registration system at indianavoters.com. Voter registration ends on Apr. 9, 2018.

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