Muncie bus referendum falls short

Published: .
Updated: .

UPDATE: The Muncie Star Press reports the bus referendum failed at the ballot box Tuesday, by a margin of 54-46 percent.

Voters in Muncie have a big decision to make - are residents willing to pay more in property taxes to bus their kids to school?

It's a vote that could have ripple effects throughout the state.

"To bus or not to bus?" 

Muncie voters will decide that question today. A referendum is asking for a property tax increase of 22 cents for 2014.

"There is absolutely nothing that mentions buses or children on the ballot question. All it amounts to is $6.6 million in taxes," says Chris Hiatt, who is wearing a bright red "NO" t-shirt.

"It's about all those kids left without transportation to school," Billie Barton responds.

Barton was wearing a "Say Yes" t-shirt.

The question has certainly prompted intense debate right up to Election Day and right up to about 50 feet of the polling site.

"It's the state that decides whether to discontinue busing, not the school," Hiatt continued.

"If this isn't passed, the school buses are not moving after this school year," Barton said.

It amounts to around $36 a year for a home valued at $70,000.

"It's not fair. I don't have any kids, but if I did, I would not have a problem with my kids walking to school. They are all saying kids don't get an exercise to walk to school," Sheila Albertson said.

But not everyone feels that way. Eyewitness News caught up with Donna Moon just after she cast her vote, as she was strapping her infant son into his car seat.

"I don't think they should take away buses from the kids. A lot of parents don't have transportation to get kids to and from school," Moon said.

"You get all kinds of people out there. Don't want to see a little kid get snatched. I know it's expensive, but everybody give a little bit and everything will be alright," Willie Johnson said.

Referendum or not, the Indiana Department of Education still has the final say on busing in Muncie and for its part, it wants to wait for the referendum results.