IPS moves operating referenda from May to November ballot

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - The operating referenda for Indianapolis Public Schools have been moved to the November ballot.

The IPS Board of School Commissioners voted Monday to move the items to November's general election.

Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee said the later vote would "allow time for a detailed operational and financial analysis, in partnership with the Indy Chamber, that will support the district’s goal of ensuring that every student has the opportunity to succeed and the power to create his or her own future."

The district will hold community forums throughout the process until the November election. The Indy Chamber will also use the time to review IPS business functions.

IPS initially asked voters to approve nearly a billion dollars in tax increases, but later lowered that number to $725 million. The money will fund safety, transportation and building improvements, a two-percent cost of living increase for staff and health insurance support.

Without the funds, the school district says they could be "forced to freeze teacher and employee compensation, reduce educational programs for students, reduce the quality of services for students with special needs, continue to defer building maintenance and scale back transportation services."

"There is a clear need for referenda funds, and we understand the importance of public education and community engagement throughout the process," said Michael O’Connor, IPS Board of School Commissioners president.

The general election will be held November 6.