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IPS makes final push in support of $410M capital referendum

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The 2023 primary election is underway in Marion County, and many voters will be asked to make a choice on a major Indianapolis Public Schools ballot question.

The school district is asking voters to support a $410 million capital referendum to fund upgrades and renovations at 23 school buildings under the Rebuilding Stronger plan.

The referendum, approved by the IPS board in December, would go toward new athletic fields, upgraded sidewalks, and improved plumbing, lighting, and fire systems at various schools. It would also cover the cost of a brand-new, 650-student elementary school.

If voters approve the measure, the proposed property tax increase would be about $3 per month.

Approval of the referendum is vital because about 30% of the district’s facilities have been rated as being “not great,” IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson said on Daybreak in late April.

“When we think about what we know about our facilities, and we think about the number of years it’s been since we’ve done renovations, we just believe our students deserve to be able to learn in upgraded, modernized, warm, safe, and comfortable buildings,” Johnson said.

Johnson believes good facilities have a positive impact on students’ ability to be successful in the classroom.

“This referendum is about ensuring we can make major innovations to our facilities to support programming so that when our students are going to school every day, they’re in a building that reflects the value we have for them.”

One item Marion County voters won’t find on the primary ballot: an IPS operating referendum. The ballot question, focused on funding higher-quality programs and paying employees more competitive salaries, was dropped from the ballot earlier this year.