Passing of referendum is "critical" for finances, IRSD says

Passing of referendum is "critical"...

The Indian River School District is preparing for a major referendum in March, as they reach what they call a "critical stage" for educational funding.

The district is proposing a tax increase of 49 cents per 100 dollars of assessed property value. This means the average district taxpayer could see an increase of $95.41 in his or her property tax bill.

If passed, the measure is expected to raise more seven million dollars in local revenue.

Mark Steele, interim superintendent of the Indian River School District, says majority of the projected revenue would go toward supporting enrollment growth and staff.

Since September 2016, there have been an additional 280 students to the total student population which has swelled to about 10,750 students as of February 2017.

33 cents of the proposed tax increase would be dedicated to student enrollment growth, eight cents would go toward school safety, with the remainder for student services and support.

The March vote is the second referendum taxpayers are facing.

An audit in the fall revealed a host of financial discrepancies and allegations against their former chief financial officer, Patrick Miller, plus the district itself.

A proposed referendum in the fall shortly after the audit failed by a razor-thin margin; however, the district is asking taxpayers to reconsider next month, as the school districts are expected to face funding cuts between 2.5 and 10 percent.

"I really ask for their support to get through this. I'm asking that they please put emotion to the side," says Steele. "Look at that facts, and make a good community decision to supporting the referendum."

The referendum vote will take place on March 2 between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

There are a series of public workshops for taxpayers to weigh in:

· February 15 - Lord Baltimore Elementary School, 6:00 p.m.
· February 16 - Georgetown Middle School, 6:00 p.m.
· February 23 - Indian River High School, 6:00 p.m.
· February 27 - Sussex Central High School, 6:00 p.m. (Prior to Board of Education meeting.)



More Stories in the News