C.P. School Board authorizes property tax referendum
Posted: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 12:00 am | (63) Comments
CROWN POINT | Voters in Crown Point Community School Corp. will be asked early next year to agree to raise their property taxes to help fund the school system.
The five-member School Board on Tuesday voted 5-0 in favor of authorizing a referendum that likely would appear on the ballot in the May primary, calling for a property tax increase of 21 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Revenue generated by the tax increase would allow the school system to avert a $5 million deficit projected in the general fund by 2012, meaning staff and programs would not have to be cut, school officials said Tuesday.
In calling for the 21-cent hike, school officials chose the lowest of several options. Increases generating up to $13.7 million in revenue had been considered.
"We understand the community's desire to be frugal," school system Chief Financial Officer Matt Ruess said.
For a homeowner living in a $190,000 home, the 21-cent hike would amount to an annual increase of about $191, or $16 a month.
The board voted on the measure after hearing from nearly 30 audience members, including school principals, business owners and many parents. All but one of the speakers favored the referendum.
Michelle Bothun, a 1988 Crown Point High School graduate, said she left the city but returned when she started a family because of the "exceptional" school system.
"This has to pass to keep our education on top like it's always been," Bothun said.
Patricia Hamilton said she and her family chose Crown Point when a job required a move from Massachusetts to the Chicago area.
"We've never regretted it," said Hamilton, who praised the music and performing arts programs her children participate in. "I know this is scary, but this is the season of hope, and I'm hopeful that we can do this."Bonnie McCormick, however, said financial relief should be sought at the state level, where school funding is decided.
"This is still a terrible economy," in which most are being asked to tighten their belts.
"I say no to any property tax referendum," McCormick said. "This issue needs to be fixed in Indianapolis."