CARMEL, Ind. — Carmel Clay Schools is pushing a safety referendum you will see on the November ballot. At a special session in July, the Board of School Trustees passed a resolution to place the referendum on the ballot. The district posted a new link this week to give more information about how the money would be used.
On July 1st, a new law went into affect that gives school districts a new option to fund safety measures. Now, they can ask voters to approve a tax increase that is not subject to the state’s property tax cap.
The new law permits school districts to impose a maximum of $.10 cents for every $100 of assessed valuation. Carmel Clay Schools said it will not be asking for the maximum. They are proposing a referendum for no more than $.05 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. This would generate a maximum of approximately $5 million dollars per year.
Their website says it would be good for eight years if this referendum is approved by voters.
The referendum proposes three safety investments. The district said it wants to hire an additional 11-13 school resource officers so there is at least one armed officer in every school. School officials also said the money will be used for mental health services, like therapy on school grounds, and more training for staff.
So how much is this going to cost you?
If you have an assessed home value of $250,000, you would pay about $65 more in property taxes every year. If your assessed home value is $750,000, you would pay about $230 more in taxes.
Laura Jarred has three kids who go to school in Carmel. Just ten miles away from their home, there was a shooting at a middle school in Noblesville.
Jarred said, “You feel like it you feel like this place is the safest place in the world and we are not immune.”
That is why she supports the safety referendum. She said safety is her number one priority right now. She is actually a member of a PAC with other moms in Carmel called Carmel SOS Safety for Our Students. She said it formed shortly after the shooting at Noblesville West.
“I feel my kids are less safe because they do not have a dedicated officer at their school,” Jarred said.
Michael Beresford, the superintendent of Carmel Clay Schools, said the school district did not want to wait to increase security on campuses.
“We found it imperative that we take advantage of this new tool that the legislators gave us,” said Beresford.
He believes these funding streams are necessary to keep kids safe.
“A vote yes means our community as a whole is saying yes we want Carmel Clay Schools to have the best school safety,” he said.
For more information on the referendum, click here.