Carr Township voters rejected a referendum Tuesday that would have allowed Medora Community School Corp. to increase property taxes paid to the corporation by homeowners and businesses for the next eight years.
The final vote on the public question was 257 (74.49%) against and 88 (25.51%) for.
With passage, the average property tax paid to the school corporation per year on a residence would have increased by 33.26%, and the average property tax paid to the school corporation per year on a business property within the school district would have increased by 26.99%.
The additional revenue would have been used to help with transportation of students, attracting and retaining certified and classified staff and improve and expand academic programs and educational offerings.
Superintendent Roger Bane said Wednesday morning that the outcome of the referendum did not surprise him.
“We had to put it out there,” he said. “It’s their school, and they have to make the decision.”
He said he doesn’t blame property taxpayers.
“They knew we were in need of about $220,000 (a year),” Bane said.
He said it was his hope the corporation could obtain the $200,000 annually through 2025 when the school’s debt is going to be paid off. That would lower property taxes because the school has no major school building projects planned.
“It’s definitely going to hurt our operations fund,” Bane said. “We are just going to have to continue to transfer from the education fund. Hopefully, enrollment stays up.”
The operations fund provided by the state is based upon student enrollment, which is up about 30%.
Without new monies in the future, cuts may be in the works in the future, Bane said.
The referendum was sought to offset the estimated loss of revenue due to the application of circuit breaker tax caps. The caps, put in place with the 2010 property tax bills, ensure a property owner does not pay more than a fixed percent of the property’s gross assessed value after exemptions in taxes, but the caps do not change the local tax rate, according to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.