May 5, 2021

The Only Indiana School Referendum On Ballots This Spring Fails To Win Voter Approval

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Article origination IPBS-RJC
Elkhart Community Schools proposed a funding referendum this spring, but according to unofficial results it was defeated with more than 3,700 local voters against the measure. - Justin Hicks/IPB News

Elkhart Community Schools proposed a funding referendum this spring, but according to unofficial results it was defeated with more than 3,700 local voters against the measure.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

The only school funding referendum up for consideration this spring failed to win voter approval, and it's the first time only one school corporation in Indiana has sought referendum approval during spring elections in the past decade.

It was Elkhart Community Schools’ second referendum try in the past two years – in 2019, the district proposed a measure to replace an existing tax. It also failed.

The funding would have gone toward teacher compensation and employee benefits, as well as transportation costs for students.

Elkhart is expected to see a boost in funding under the state's next budget as well as federal COVID-19 relief, but the referendum would have provided a more long-term and stable resource for the school corporation for the next eight years. Federal COVID-19 related funding expires in 2024, and the state budget is only set for two years. 

In a video message to employees, Superintendent Steve Thalheimer said he's heartbroken with the result.

Contact reporter Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.

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