INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A $191 million referendum is in the works for Lawrence Township schools. School leaders say it will be used to transform the state’s 9th largest public school district. So, how would this proposed referendum impact your wallet?
Dr. Dana Altemeyer with MSD of Lawrence Township says, “It’s really important to clarify this is a capital referendum. The funds that are generated will only be used to renovate schools.”
Lawrence Township is not seeking an operating referendum, as they do not need additional funds to support day-to-day operations. The $191 million would be paid over the course of the next 20 years, if it were to be passed by voters.
“Because of the size of this project, we need to get public approval,” said Altemeyer. “Educate all children. That’s our mission statement through innovation and dedication, we educate all students through graduation. But with that said, we have some educating for our community that we need to do on the positive impact of this referendum and how it will affect future generations of students.”
The referendum was recently passed and approved by the school board. Public meetings were also held and livestreamed on their website. This is the first referendum that Lawrence Township has pursued. Altemeyer describes it like they’re the last standing.
“We are actually the last public school district in Marion County to pursue a referendum,” said Altemeyer. “All of our neighbors in Hamilton and Hancock counties have pursued and successfully passed referendum.”
Altemeyer says the last major renovation to Lawrence Central High School was 25 years ago and Lawrence North High School has never had a major renovation.
“We currently serve 16,035 students daily and we’re the 9th largest school district in the state of Indiana. We’ve seen a 1,200 student increase over the course of the past five years. It’s projected at this time that we will maintain enrollment, but due to school choice it’s difficult to predict growth,” said Altemeyer.
Ten buildings would see improvements under this referendum, including:
- Lawrence Central High School
- Lawrence North High School
- Brook Park Elementary
- Forest Glen Elementary
- Oaklandon Elementary
- Winding Ridge Elementary
- Four early learning centers
There’s also quite the list when it comes to upgrades that are planned. Schools would get new HVAC replacements, as many of them currently have the original systems. Security features would be added for main entrances and throughout the buildings. Additional entrance and exit points to the property to help bus and parent traffic and updated classrooms to current and future curricular needs.
“We need the support of our community,” said Altemeyer.
So, where do you come into play? Lawrence Township is asking for $0.2499 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
“This is often confusing for homeowners, as assessed and market value are not the same,” said Altemeyer. “You have to start with the market value, or gross assessed value, then take a homestead deduction, a supplemental homestead deduction, and a mortgage deduction.”
After you subtract all of that then you arrive at the net assessed value. Families are encouraged to visit Lawrence Township’s website and use their tax calculator to see their monthly impact. Online you can also find renderings of the buildings and when public meetings are scheduled they will be posted there, too.
The vote for the referendum is this November. If passed, construction would begin in the spring of 2020.
Click here for the live stream of the public meeting held in March.