Zionsville schools propose 2 referendums to help accommodate growth

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ZIONSVILLE, Ind.–  In the last decade, Zionsville and Whitestown’s populations have more than doubled.  Schools are having to keep up with the high demand and that’s creating some challenges. To help, Zionsville Community Schools have proposed two referendums for voters this November.

Bob Goodman’s opinion sits right outside the front door of his business.

“We’ve supported all three referendums in Zionsville,” said Goodman.

He says good schools equal better business. He calls it a no-brainer.

“It creates a desire to live in the community, good schools do,” Goodman added.

Since 2006, enrollment at Zionsville Community Schools has increased by 3,000 students and Superintendent Scott Robison says it’s not slowing down. The district partnered with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business for a demographic study to find out what they need to prepare for.

“They’re predicting that we will grow between 160-240 (students), somewhere in the 200 range for the coming ten years,” said Robison.

The district has proposed two referendums on the ballot: an operational referendum used for managing class sizes, and a construction referendum.

“We see our capacity and facilities and see that we’ve out stripped it in many areas,” said Robison.

The $89 million construction referendum includes building a new elementary school and renovating existing buildings. According to Zionsville’s timeline on their website, the new elementary school is proposed by 2022, while the high school classroom space is expected to open by 2023-2024.

“Circulation is a problem, we do need 32 new classroom spaces to take us to that next level,” said Robison, “At Boone Meadow Elementary school, it’s already at capacity.”

The $64 million operational referendum is a tax rate of 24.4 cents for eight years. Robison says it’s at the same rate people are experiencing right now.

According to the Zionsville Community Schools website:

ZCS remains the lowest funded school district in Indiana, receiving the lowest state funding amount on a per pupil basis of any school district in the state. We can’t keep up with growth and continue our high educational standards without some changes. 

Zionsville has had a referendum fail in the past, however, Robison hopes that won’t happen again.

“We need that little bit of the gap fill from the referendum to ensure we can have adequate class sizes. When we didn’t get that in 2010, when the first referendum failed, we lost a number of teachers and programs and class sizes skyrocketed,” Robison said.

A facilities study shows that all Zionsville elementary schools be full by 2023, with some being over capacity much sooner.

“If we don’t have the space, or we don’t have the operating, we can’t accommodate our enrollment growth, even our current enrollment,” said Robison, “But you know, signs don’t vote. People actually have to go vote.”

CBS4 has now brought you reports on all of the central Indiana referendums up for vote this election day.

Click the below links to learn more about:

Tune in Tuesday, Nov. 5 for election results.

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