Two school referenda on the ballot in Beech Grove

Posted at 9:49 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2021-09-30 07:28:38-04

BEECH GROVE — Vote yes twice — that's the message on the orange signs outside Beech Grove High School.

District leaders are hoping voters will approve two referendums, one for operating expenses and the other for construction.

"This is about kids first and foremost," Superintendent Paul Kaiser said.

Kaiser said the operating referendum will in part allow them to increase each teacher's base salary by $2,000 and support staff salaries by $1,000. It will allow the district to hire three school resource officers and three guidance counselors.

The construction referendum would allow the district to build an early childhood center and make upgrades to existing school buildings and the high school athletic facilities. Kaiser said the sooner they make these upgrades the better.

"If we wait interest rates are going to go up, construction costs are going to go up which actually will cost the taxpayers more money if we delay it," Kaiser said.

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But not everyone agrees.

"It comes at a bad time," Susan Ludlow, a Beech Grove resident, said. "There are a lot of people trying to watch their pennies and we don't need any higher taxes right now."

If approved, the referendums would be phased in over three years. The owner of a $95,000 home would pay roughly an additional $5 a month in 2021 and about $11 extra per month by 2023.

And if they are not approved?

"We will just have to move forward and do what we can with the means that we have available but we think our kids and our teachers deserve the opportunity to move forward and to enhance their teaching and learning opportunities," Kaiser said.