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Pike Township School District asks for its first-ever tax referendum for funding

Ballot measure would raise nearly $16 million per year for eight years
pike proud sign.jpg
Posted at 8:52 PM, Apr 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-23 20:52:41-04

INDIANAPOLIS — School districts across central Indiana have looked to voters to fund improvements and teacher salaries. Pike Township Schools is the next to leave its budget in the hands of its parents.

A referendum for Pike Township voters in the May 7 election would raise nearly $16 million for the school district every year for eight years. It would be funded by raising property taxes by 24 cents for every $100 of assessed value; the school district created a calculator for homeowners to see their exact financial impact.

Pike Township Schools has never directly asked the voters to pass a referendum before, but superintendent Dr. Larry Young, Jr. said this is the only way to keep up in an extremely competitive education environment.

"Prior to the pandemic, there was a small pool of educators, and after the pandemic, it's even smaller," said Young, who is also a Pike High School alumnus. "There's a cost to providing an excellent education for our children."

Six school districts across central Indiana put a new or existing tax referendum on the ballot last year: Carmel-Clay, Hamilton Southeastern, Monroe County, Sheridan, Speedway, and Warren Township. Voters approved all six measures.

WATCH | Education funding on the ballot for several Indiana communities

Tax Referendum

"I'm really hopeful that we can do this," said Pike High School teacher Melissa Ziegler, who also graduated from Pike High School. "If everyone else can do it, then we can do it."

Ziegler lined her front yard with signs of support because of the need she sees in her own classroom.

"We need more interpreters, we need more teachers, we need more supplies," Ziegler said. "We need everything you can think of."

The funding from the referendum would go towards salaries, school safety, and retaining educational programs started since 2020.

"The federal government after the onset of the pandemic provided federal relief dollars," Young said. "Those funds go away at the end of the year, but the need hasn't."