IN Brief

Election results show Indiana voters mostly supporting school funding referendums

Indiana voters in 11 school districts cast ballots Tuesday on whether to approve property tax referendums for hiring and retaining teachers, funding academic programs and transportation, and more.(Maxine Wallace for Chalkbeat)

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Indiana voters across the state showed support for giving their school districts the green light to use millions of dollars in property tax revenue to hire and retain teachers and fund programs and transportation.

Unofficial election results late Tuesday showed voters largely in support of property tax referendums in seven of the 11 districts that placed one on the ballot. Fort Wayne schools, along with three school districts in Hamilton County, all saw strong support throughout the evening for their referendums.

Meanwhile, three districts in Lake County, including the School City of Hammond, saw the opposite from their voters in early returns. But late Tuesday, Lake Station schools’ referendum was down by only 14 votes.

Property tax referendums have long been a cornerstone of school funding in the state, but local revenue is especially important now as the federal emergency funding that has supported schools throughout COVID begins to sunset. Due to a change in state law this year, certain districts like the School City of Hammond will also need to share any property tax revenue with charter schools.

Indiana allows districts to ask local residents for three kinds of referendums: construction referendums for renovation and building projects; operating referendums for staff, programs, and services; and safety referendums, the newest type of ballot measure that allows schools to make security improvements and hire school resource officers.

This year, 11 districts sought approval from voters for new referendums or renewals of previous referendums.

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Aleksandra Appleton, Chalkbeat Indiana
Aleksandra Appleton, Chalkbeat Indiana

Aleksandra Appleton is a Reporter for Chalkbeat Indiana. She previously reported on schools in Las Vegas and Fresno, California, where she grew up. Aleks is a graduate of UC San Diego and the Columbia School of Journalism.