Make your home page

Parents’ reactions vary on IPS delaying vote on operating referendum

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Parents and school leaders are getting another chance to voice concerns about the Indianapolis Public Schools’ proposed operating referendum.

On Saturday, the school board delayed its vote again after pushback from the community.

The IPS Board on Dec. 7 unanimously approved a one-time $410 million capital referendum for the May elections’ ballot to fund construction projects proposed under the Rebuilding Stronger plan. The proposed $410 million capital referendum would raise property taxes to about $6 per month for the typical homeowner if voters approve the measure.

IPS has said that the $400 million operating referendum could raise $50 million to $51 million each year until 2031. If the operating referendum is approved by the board and later voters, IPS says, the local property tax rate would rise from 19 cents to no more than 25 cents on each $100 of assessed valuation starting in 2024.

Parent Susan Sargeant welcomed the delay in putting the operating referendum on the May ballot. “We’re just asking them to share with all students because that’s what the IPS mantra says, that they provide for all families.”

Wendi Hornsby has a child in IPS and says the operating referendum would bring more opportunities. “Please, tax me for the better of our community,” Hornsby said Monday.

“I really hope that these sorts of funds will help our students not just in the classroom but extracurricularly as well and those experiences are beyond important pushing into those middle and high school years,” Hornsby said.

Justin Ohlemiller is the executive director of Indiana Stand for Children. “We believe that all students attending a public school need to have the resources that they deserve in order to achieve a high quality education, and there certainly are gaps in how those school types are being funded that has to be dealt with.”

He says there’s a need for more funding to get all children the education they deserve. “All children have the ability to succeed at a very high level. That’s why it comes down to what opportunities are we providing our children in our community, and so we have to look at the opportunity gap, which is affected by funding.”

IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson has said she’s disappointed in the delay. She shared a statement Saturday on the IPS website.