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Indianapolis Public Schools ballot questions seeking $728M moved to November

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The board of Indianapolis Public Schools voted Monday to delay for several months a ballot measure that could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the district’s buildings and operations.

Ahmed Young, the IPS chief of staff and general counsel, announced the move of the referenda from May 8 to Nov. 6 in a news release. Registered voters in the IPS district would cast ballots on any referenda.

When the ballot question was first approved in December, it called on voters to decide whether the district could raise nearly $1 billion in additional tax dollars over the next eight years for teacher raises, school building improvements and special education services. The latest proposal calls for raising $728 million.

Without referendum funds, IPS said, it could be forced to freeze teacher and employee compensation, reduce educational programs for students, reduce the quality of services for students with special needs, continue to defer building maintenance and scale back transportation services.

Superintendent Lewis D. Ferebee said in the release, “We believe that postponing the operating and capital referenda until November 2018 will allow time for a detailed operational and financial analysis, in partnership with the Indy Chamber, that will support the district’s goal of ensuring that every student has the opportunity to succeed and the power to create his or her own future. The extra time will allow even more voters to participate in important conversations about the district’s path to progress.”

During the next 120 days, the Indy Chamber and the school district will cooperate to conduct a strategic review of all IPS business functions, establishing “a prioritization and implementation plan,” the release said.

Between now and November, IPS said, it will hold additional community forums, engage with parents and families, and meet with neighborhood groups and partner with the Indy Chamber to dive deeper into current operations and finances.