Noblesville, HSE schools pass referenda

Proposed expanded classroom

Both Hamilton Southeastern and Noblesville schools passed referenda to help pay for school expansions on Tuesday's ballot.

Noblesville Schools passed their referendum by a 68-32 percent margin, the district announced.

"On behalf of the children who come to school everyday to be engaged, inspired, and empowered, I thank you for your support," Supt. Dr. Libbie Conner wrote in a release.

The school district was asking for $28 million to expand the high school and relocate the middle school. They hope then to lease their old middle school to Ivy Tech - something business leaders support.

Hamilton Southeastern passed a $95 million referendum, also with 68 percent of the vote.

The Hamilton Southeastern school referendum calls to expand both Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers high schools with senior academies. Each would accommodate an additional one thousand students - students that school administrators say are already here.

Not everyone is on board with the plan. There has been organized opposition.

"There's been a lot of confusion about property taxes," according to HSE Superintendent Brian Smith. "And actually, we are keeping our tax rate neutral. Because we're paying off older buildings at the same time issuing bonds for new buildings. So the impact on the tax rate will be zero. Many people below property tax caps will not see a change in their taxes."

Because there are eight different taxing districts, you could take the same valued house and come up with a different taxed amount. So it's hard to project exactly how an average resident would be affected.

If the HSE referendum doesn't pass, Smith says they would have to resort to about 84 trailer classrooms. And some families have threatened to move if that happens.

Schools in both districts expect enrollment increases in the next few years.

Conner explains they're hoping for a "yes" vote to expand, rather than build a second high school, and "allow us to move the middle school to a better facility by vacating the current east middle school.  Ivy Tech would come to town and that's just immeasurable."

Conner says the Noblesville District is growing by 200 students a year. Both school districts say the new referendum will have them covered for the next 10 years.