BROWN COUNTY, Ind. — When voters in Brown County go to the polls on November 8, one of the things they will vote on is if they will invest in the county’s schools and students.
Brown County Schools is asking for $0.12 per $100 of assessed property value. This is a $.04 tax rate increase from the last time the corporation sought referendum funding in 2016. The corporation says to the average home value in Brown County, the referendum would increase taxes by $3.26 per month.
The corporation says the increase is needed to maintain the expanded opportunities they have enacted since the last referendum passed. On the corporation’s referendum page, it says that state dollars in the education fund cannot support any of the staff or programming at the Career Resource Center or the new Early Childhood Education Center in Nashville. Corporation leadership says these entities are essential to the entire county and if the funding passes, it will be able to offer a full Birth-5 program.
The current referendum funding generates approximately $1.2 million per year. The corporation says it uses around 87.5% of this to directly fund wages and benefits for teachers and support staff.
If the referendum does not pass, the corporation says it will be forced to significantly reduce programming and services across academics, the arts, and athletics; freeze salary and wages for staff; and cut jobs across the district. This will result in larger class sizes, loss of teachers, and major changes to academic and student support programs.
The corporation says programs in its theatre, art, and music extracurricular activities would be cut, and its athletics program would face an uncertain future.
While the corporation is asking for more money, leadership says it still has one of the lowest school tax rates of any corporation in the area. The county is also below the state median tax rate.
The corporation has worked to cut costs and “do more than less”, including eliminating positions, shifting from certified preschool teachers to non-certified teachers, and reducing benefits like overtime and vacation pay.
“We make saving tax dollars a major priority on how we do business in your Brown County Schools,” said Dawn Ray, treasurer for Brown County Schools.
People can figure out how the referendum would impact them by finding their taxable assessment and using the corporation’s tax investment calculator. You can follow the results of the referendum below: