What is the exact referendum language on the ballot?
The referendum ballot language is established by Indiana law, approved by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.
The language in the November 2022 referendum was passed by the politicians in Indianapolis the spring 2021 legislative session in an effort to scare voters and take away local control. It uses a formula which does not correctly reflect the impact of the tax rate.
The referendum ballot as submitted to the school board reads:
“Shall the Delphi Community Schools increase property taxes paid to the School Corporation by homeowners and business for 8 years immediately following the holding of the referendum for the purpose of funding daily educational operations, academic and support programs, managing class sizes, and for any other educational needs of the school corporation, at a maximum referendum property tax rate of $0.2032? If this public question is approved by the voters, the average property tax paid to the school corporation per year on a residence would increase by 23.13% and the average property tax paid to the school corporation per year on a business property would increase by 23.13%. The most recent property tax referendum proposed by the school corporation was held in 2009 and failed.”
The formula DCSC was required to follow for the percentages of the tax effect, is not an accurate representation due to several factors. Averages of overall taxing district rates and assessed values are distorted in the formula and not truly representative of the taxpayer base. The actual increase to an average median value home in 2023 is $77.23. A taxpayer in Delphi city, paying the highest taxes in our district, would see an increase of about 7½% The school’s tax rate decreased by $0.1285 from 2020. The current rate is the lowest it has been in four years.
The legislators and regulators in Indianapolis would not allow this information to be included.However, they do require the results of a project referendum held 13 years ago to be included in the ballot. This referendum was held during the beginning of education financing reform when there didn’t appear to be any alternatives to making essential repairs. Unlike this 2022 referendum, the ballot question in 2009 wasn’t even supported by all of the school board.