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Referendum may appear on Wayne Township ballot

Wayne Township homeowners may soon have to decide if they are willing to pay higher property taxes to help fund the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township.

The MSD of Wayne Township School Board is set to vote Monday whether they will add a referendum to the May ballot. “Yes 4 Wayne” would increase property taxes for homeowners for seven years if approved by the board and eventually voters.

The school district said over the past decade it has seen a severe decrease in funding. A number of factors have contributed, including a $60 million in lost property tax revenue since 2008 due to state-imposed limits and a $1 billion drop in the value of MSD of Wayne Township property. The district began the first of several rounds of budget cuts in 2007 and since then has reduced its workforce.

The district said it would no longer be able to keep budget cuts away from the classroom if it cannot raise more revenue. That would affect 16,000 students, hundreds of teachers and nearly two dozen schools.

“It goes to a good cause, but it adds up,” said Mary Gilliam, a Wayne Township homeowner, about the “Yes 4 Wayne” referendum.

Homeowners would possibly have to pay around $6-$8 more per month on property taxes. That would be around $70-$100 per year. The referendum would generate around $8 – $9 million a year for seven years.

“People are getting older as they’re living in their houses. So they’re social security, you’re taking away from they’re social security to pay for this,” Gilliam said.

Despite her reservations, Gilliam said she would most likely vote yes if she had to vote on the referendum.

The school board will vote on the referendum Monday night.

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