Trend Continues As 12 Of 17 School Referenda Pass

May 6, 2015

Credit jamelah e. / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamelah/

Trends in school-related voting held mostly true this election cycle, with education referenda questions passing in many districts. 

Thirteen Indiana school districts appealed to voters for their support in 18 separate referenda this spring. In total, thirteen measures passed and five failed.

Four counties offered two measures each – one item to fund construction projects and one to supplement general funds.

Pike County voters overwhelmingly said no to a referendum that would have helped close a budget deficit in their local school district. Pike Superintendent Suzanne Blake says that means it's back to the drawing board for local school officials.

"I’m afraid the next steps are going to make it difficult for a little bit, but I can’t continue to go over the budget and spend without regard," says Blake.

Up north, River Forest Schools’ referendum passed, which will mean more money to fund teaching positions, staff positions and educational programming. Superintendent Steven Disney says in addition to his district's existing deficit, he is projecting about a 1.5 percent cut based on the school funding formula just passed by the General Assembly in the biennial budget process.

"Unfortunately, we haven’t had the leadership in Indianapolis that has valued public schools, and I think that this is reflected when communities come out and say ‘our public schools are important,’" says Disney.

Typically, around 50 percent of referenda pass, and more pass in May elections.