HSE referendum passes on Fishers ballot - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

HSE referendum passes on Fishers ballot

Updated:

Chris Proffitt/Eyewitness News

7:48 p.m. Tuesday update - With 100 percent of the ballot counted, the referendum is passing 82 percent to 18 percent.

Hamilton County - Voters in Fishers head to the polls Tuesday to decide the fate of a seven-year, multi-million-dollar school referendum.

Hamilton Southeastern schools say without taxpayer support, count on teacher cuts and bigger classroom sizes. If last week's statewide school referendum results are a roadmap, HSE may have voters on their side.

Bigger class sizes, cuts in teachers and programs: that's what parents in the state's fastest growing school district are told will happen unless they vote yes on a seven-year $38.5-million referendum on Tuesday.

"The focus is on children, on great teachers, on maintaining reasonable class sizes and that resonates with people," said Dr. Brian Smith, Hamilton Southeastern superintendent.

That's the hope for Hamilton Southeastern on Tuesday as the school district asks voters to pay extra property taxes to fund a $5.5-million-a-year operating cost shortage. Last Tuesday's referendums may hold hope for the district. Voters were turned off by referendums asking the public to fund extravagant building projects, shooting down three proposals, but they did support two out of three that raised taxes to fund budget deficits.

"I think having smaller class sizes is well worth it. Very much so. I definitely support it and would vote to have it go through," said Kathy Mayes, Fishers.

Faced with the prospect of crowded classrooms, teacher furloughs and cuts in popular programs, taxpayers have shown a willingness to help school districts make ends meet.

"My three grandchildren are in school in Fishers and it's important for their education. So we're going to vote yes," said Nancy David, Fishers.

But it's not a sure thing. Taxpayers in fast growing Franklin Township rejected a plan to raise money for the school district's general fund.

Hamilton Southeastern is suing the state, hoping to remedy what it calls an unfair funding formula that penalizes growing school districts. But the outcome of that won't be known for two to three years.

Promising that if it wins in court it will rescind its referendum, HSE is counting on voters willing to further fund education and not buildings or sports complexes.

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