Avon Schools Referendum

If you have driven through Avon, you have seen the yards signs posted urging you to “Vote Yes!” and those reminding you that “It is OK to Vote No!” So what’s all the hubbub, bub?

Here’s the issue–

An Operating Fund Referendum was created by the Indiana Legislature to allow local school districts to request permission through a direct vote to assess property taxes above the property tax cap (1% for residential property) for the purpose of allowing a community to support its schools through additional revenue or to help replenish monies lost from recent state funding cuts.

The school district will add a referendum question to the May 3 ballot asking the community to support a property tax. The question will read: “For the seven (7) calendar years immediately following the holding of the referendum, shall the Avon Community School Corporation impose a property tax rate that does not exceed 17.05 cents ($0.1705) on each One Hundred Dollars ($100) of assessed valuation and that is in addition to all other property tax levies imposed by the School Corporation?”

Why are they asking for this referendum? With recent property tax caps, reduced state funding, and loss of investment income, the school budget has already been cut drastically. We are fortunate that our community is growing, and we are adding schools to fit the population, but it takes money to do that. This referendum is asking the community to pay additional property taxes that would go directly to help the schools operate. Voting will take place on May 3.

There has been a lot of discussion among the residents of Avon about this referendum, obviously, some support it and some do not.

MY OPINION? Avon has a reputation for great schools in the Indianapolis area, which is certainly an important factor when people are considering moving to the community. Having great schools benefits us all, whether you have kids that attend those schools (like me) or not. I want this to pass both for my own children, and for the benefit of the entire community. I think it is important to help support the schools in the community, and I am willing to pay for that through my property taxes.

I would love to hear your thoughts, I am sure that some readers will not agree with my opinion, and I”m ok with that as long as the discussion is polite. 

For a lot more info, you can go to www.SupportAvonChildren.org or www.NoMoreAvonTaxes.org

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24 thoughts on “Avon Schools Referendum

  1. Lori says:

    I put my Vote Yes sign up on Sunday night. I woke up the next morning to my very heavy trash can being thrown up in my yard and my mailbox left open with dirt thrown in. The only other person on my street who had trash knocked over……you guessed it! Had a Vote Yes sign in their yard. 😡 So disappointing that people can’t act like adults.
    The bottom line about the referendum is that our kids ARE going to lose out. Huge class sizes and the loss of classes such as art, music, etc. are unacceptable for our children. If I have to give up eating out once a month so the schools can continue to offer the these then I absolutely will!!

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  2. Kacie says:

    Am I doing my math right? For a $100,000 house, this could mean an extra $170.05 per year?

    If that’s the case, that’s not even an extra $15/month. I don’t live in the area, but it sounds like a bargain to me!

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  3. Scott Flood says:

    I don’t live in Avon, but have been observing the debate as a school board member in another community. Unfortunately, school finance in Indiana is both highly complex and widely misunderstood. School corporations have to follow a very rigid set of rules and generally cannot move money from one fund to another. That means money raised through this referendum can be used only for General Fund expenditures such as staff compensation and other educational costs, and not for buildings. Avon launched the referendum because of the deep cuts in state funding. It has no relationship to things like past construction costs. In addition, most local residents probably don’t realize that Avon and the other Hendricks County school districts receive far less state funding than districts like IPS on a per-student basis. In fact, when you combine state and federal funding, Avon gets about half of what two Lake County districts receive on a per-student basis. The better you understand the inequities built into Indiana’s funding formula, the more you’ll see that this referendum is based on legitimate need.

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  4. Nikki says:

    To Kacie…it is the assessed tax value of your home. Not the value if you were to sell your home (the assessed tax value is less and the amount extra you would pay also takes into consideration the homestead exemption). If you are unsure of your assessed tax value you can look at our county website. Here is the link http://www.co.hendricks.in.us/dwlookup/disclaimer.asp.

    Once you have found your assessed tax value you can go to link and fill in the info. It will calculate your increase. Mine will only increase $111/ year. To me, that money is well worth ensuring my kids have an outstanding education. I pay $420/year just to have service on my iphone for goodness sake. And yes, if it doesn’t pass, the school and board will have some tough decisions to make. Some of those decisions will be larger class sizes, no field trips, cutting of programs, and valued positions. We would all love in a perfect world for some other decisions to be made if it came to the vote being “no”, for the cuts to not affect our children. But, they will, and I believe it will be a huge impact felt by our whole community in the long run.

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  5. Angie says:

    @Scott Flood:
    THANK YOU SO MUCH for providing a great summary of school funding in Indiana. It is truly very complicated to understand!
    Let’s do what’s right by some of the greatest public servants in our country: teachers! (and their recipients= the children) Think about sacrificing a McDonald’s drive-through trip a month and there you have the money to support the high quality of Avon Schools!

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  6. Michelle Morris says:

    Also, I want to thank everyone for keeping it polite here. I have heard of some nastiness in discussions over this issue, but I haven’t even had to deny any posts! THANK YOU! If you don’t agree, that is fine, but let’s continue a conversation, not start a fight.

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  7. Tyler Jones says:

    Yes, the referendum should be passed. For the good of our students of course, but it would probably be wise for Avon not to add any more structures. Such as their football turf field which was approximately 1.5 – 3 million? I think that kind of spending can be put on a hold for now.

    :]

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  8. Mike says:

    I saw your post on the school referendum and some thoughts for you. First Avon is not broke or financially strapped. According to the state board of accounts Avon has a 12 million dollar surplus. While teachers took a two year freeze on their salaries the administration did not. According to the latest news from the state of Indiana, the legislature will be funding all day kindergarten next year. Also the state is planning on diverting another 500 million over the next two years for schools. Among five administrators in the Administration building the taxpayers are paying over 3/4s of a million dollars in salaries and at least the benefits of one. Still working on the benefits of another. Then in a financially strapped time the board has voted to offer health insurance for a cost of 1.00 to any board member who wants it. Is that cutting money or conserving resources. Every board member has a job and it is assumed they have their own health insurance. Did they take the job for money and benefits? They say they love children. How do you justify offering 1.00 insurance in allegedly hard economic times in Avon?

    I personally asked Dr. Ogle if the economy turned around would the referendum be canceled before the end of seven years? His response was we have the authority to do that. I told him that was not my question. And asked again. He would not respond. NO one is opposed to supporting quality education, having reasonable class sizes, and supporting teachers in bad times. The fact is Avon has money, 12 million in surplus according to the state board of accounts. When the board and superintendent are playing upon the fears of patrons of larger class sizes, poor quality education, and losing teachers, and they have a surplus, the public should remove both the superintendent and the board for misrepresenting their economic status and playing on parental fears. My family will vote NO this May and many people in Avon have had enough of the board and the superintendent. This tax increase will not only effect patrons but business men. The latest tax bills show and average marked increase for taxpayers in Avon. Where is that extra money going on top of a potential increase if and unnecessary referendum is passed? Time for Avon patrons to wake up and realize they are being HAD.

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  9. LarrySpeier says:

    I will vote no on the school referendum come May 3. The case for increased revenue has not been made with the level of transparency required. What really are the consequences if the shortfall persists? State the problem succinctly, state the desired condition and enumerate the tactics to achieve the desired condition. From this info we could make a rational assessment oh the request.

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  10. jack baugh says:

    how much did the new sign cost/ over 500000 spent on the football field why why are our the highest paid in our do many employees pay 1.00 p wer month for insurance

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  11. Jonathon says:

    I would say vote NO we pay enough taxes already. How about they give us back our money that is supposed to be used for our schools. The lottery was supposed to help pay for education what happened to that money? How about all of the politicians take a pay cut.

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  12. Jim says:

    I will vote no. It seems to me that the formula for funding should be changed, not increasing local taxes to make up for a bad system. With new guidelines for success coming down the road Avon could win more student dollars with success in the class room. We spend too many dollars on large administrative staffs and outside activities not based on academic achievement. The notion of spending more money makes better students has proven to be a very false theory. We have had to fight tooth and nail to keep some control over the excess taxing of property. I would not want that to slip away because its “just a few hundred dollars a year”. You will never get it back, nor will you get it stopped in the future when the economy turns around. Once it is spent they will need even more. That is the way government spending works.
    There is no way I will give up what little control we have gained. It is a mistake to fall prey to arguments that we will fail without taking more dollars. It just isn’t so.

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  13. Michelle Morris says:

    A few things I don’t get:
    — I have lived here in Avon for 6 years, and I have seen how quickly it has grown, how is it possible that with so many families moving into Avon, and therefore, so many more students, that we can operate with the same budget that we had in 2008?
    — If things are fine the way they are, and there is plenty of money already, why did they close the pool at AIS East? Why did they cut 3 administrators, 18 teachers, a third of support staff? Why did they eliminate summer school? etc? While the administration might be able to spend more wisely, that is something to address when it is time to vote for a new superintendant, isn’t it?

    And finally, one thing that has been bugging me for a long time, I need to explain a little bit. If you know me, you know I am fiercely loyal and proud of my community. There is a forum I go to called “City-Data” with message boards where you can discuss the area. Many people come onto the forum and ask, “which suburb should my family move to?” Over and over I see people talking about how great Carmel, Zionsville and Fishers are, and I’m the lonely one supporting Avon. Why do people push Carmel, Zionsville and Fishers over Avon so often? They have a reputation for amazing schools, they have higher taxes, and they are willing to pour money into their communities to make them world class in many ways. Avon is new, and we don’t have a huge tax base to pull from, but we need to collectively look at ways to make our community stronger. I always think of the Cowardly Lion singing “What do they got that I don’t got?” when it comes to those towns.
    While I know that a lot of people don’t want Avon to be as big as Carmel, wouldn’t it be nice if people were telling everyone that Avon is a great place to move because of our reputation for excellence?

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  14. Vern says:

    This isn’t an Avon only issue. Last election had referendums from half a dozen districts asking for more money. My feeling is that when good teachers get to stay on the job and the poor teachers are getting axed, then and only then will I agree to pay a little more for a time to straighten out the mess. What we should have to vote on is the teacher’s contracts, based on their effectiveness – not tenure. Maybe we could vote on the budget itself and impose our own line-item veto? Besides, grandma can’t afford any more taxes and she doesn’t even have any kids!

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  15. Alex says:

    I have lived in avon for 22 years, I am 22 years old also, and I have seen the amount of growth this place has had happen to it. Although I do not pay taxes it may seem easy to me to say to vote no for this referendum. I have witnessed first hand, recently, the waste of money the avon school corporation has done. Why should we enable the Avon School any longer?

    They are wanting to increase taxes again in addition to the increase of gas prices and the increase of common goods, this is absolutely ridiculous. We need to look over our budget and see where we can cut things and improve others without increasing the revenue. A spending problem is what Avon has and will continue to have once this referendum passes.

    How much money do you think it cost to make all of the yes and no signs? How much money do you think both sides have put into this debate? Its unbelievable how unintelligent people are. Instead of debating and making a big deal out of the referendum why don’t people donate to the cause? Although personally I wouldn’t donate because compared to China and India, an American student, not the school corporation, is lazy, unmotivated, and most believe they can free ride off their parents for years after graduating high school.

    I blame the students and the parents for breeding such laziness.

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  16. BS says:

    I voted NO and I have children that go to Avon schools. It is time for all schools, not just Avon, to start being responsible for their spending. You do not need multimillion dollar buildings and sporting complexes to get a great education. I do not like to see anyone lose their jobs if it comes to that, but if the school corporation would do a better job with what they have then they would not currently be in a position of possible layoffs and such. They can raise the money other ways instead of having those who do not want higher taxes pay for it. Charge to play sports, charge extra for riding buses, make admin pay for health care, etc… The school needs to be responsible with what they already get and Avon would not be in this situation.

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    • Michelle Morris says:

      If the referendum would have passed, the average Avon household would have paid about $10-$20 per month in additional taxes. This is a reasonable amount for me. $1700 would be too much for my family. Although, I will still be giving a donation equal to my fair share to the Avon Educational Foundation.

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