HSES Schools’ Cash Crunch: Your Guide

This article is 621 words – a 4-minute read.

In 2 months (November 7th), voters in Fishers will have the opportunity to vote Yes or No on the HSES Operating Referendum.

In this article, we will break down everything you need to know. Bookmark this and share it with your friends!

There are no stupid questions here.

What is a referendum?

A referendum is a direct vote by the people on a particular issue or proposal.

HSES Operating Referendum is a proposal to continue funding the schools past what they are given from the state and local property taxes. 

Why does the school need more?

Schools like HSES use extra funding in many ways. These can include:

  • Maintaining or reducing class sizes
  • Paying teachers well
  • Improving facilities
  • Upgrading technology
  • Enhancing educational programs
  • Establishing safety initiatives

Since 2016, HSES has enjoyed operating with an additional $26 million in its budget.

What happens if it doesn’t pass?

Not passing would be a significant blow to the school system’s current operations. Here is how HSE’s CFO breaks down the impact:

  • Reduction of 8 admin positions $1,200,000
  • Redistricting – Facility Cost Savings $200,000
  • Non-Cert, Non-Classroom Staff $1,200,000
  • Medical Insurance Restructuring $4,000,000
  • IT Reductions via BYOD $300,000
  • Teacher Development Specialist $1,200,000
  • Reduction in ECA Offerings $200,000
  • Reduction of Global Studies (K-4) $700,000
  • Reduction of expanded foreign languages $300,000
  • Reduction of Experiential Learning Teachers $300,000
  • Teacher Librarians $1,000,000
  • Specialized Performing Arts reductions $600,000
  • Larger Class Sizes -Classroom Teachers Loss $12,500,000
  • Transportation Walk Radius (1.5) $125,000
Who supports this?

The City of Fishers and the HSE School Board do. 

On July 12, 2023, a 6-0 vote greenlighted putting the referendum on the upcoming November 7th ballots. 

HSES has a Political Action Committee (PAC), Advance HSE, created to raise and donate money to support voting Yes.

How much is the school getting from my taxes now?

Many property owners in Fishers have already seen property tax increases due to higher home values in the city. 

This means the schools are already getting more funding than they have in the past from property taxes alone.

If you’re a homeowner, you can find out exactly how much of your property tax is currently going to the school by going to the Hamilton County Property Reports website. Simply search for your home.

Breaking down the numbers

This year’s referendum proposes a change in the tax rate. 

The current tax rate is $0.2275 for each $100 of the property’s assessed value. 

If the referendum passes, it will decrease to $0.1995 for each $100 of the estimated value.

You will hear arguments that it will decrease your taxes but remember this:

  • Your property value is higher, so while the rate is lower, the amount may be more than what you are currently paying

Again, this tax is on top of what you currently pay and assessed at what the city has on your property. 

How will it appear on the ballot?

Exactly like this:

“Shall Hamilton Southeastern Schools continue to impose increased property taxes paid to the school corporation by homeowners and businesses for eight (8) years immediately following the holding of the referendum for the purpose of funding academic and educationally related programs, maintaining class sizes, retaining and attracting of teachers, essential safety initiatives, and changing the previously approved maximum referendum tax rate from $0.2275 to $0.1995? The property tax increase requested in this referendum was originally approved by the voters in May, 2016 and if extended will increase the average property tax paid to the school corporation per year on a residence within the school corporation by 20.8% and if extended will increase the average property tax paid to the school corporation per year on a business property within the school corporation by 20.8%.”

What’s next

The following are happening this month. 

School Board Meeting | Wednesday, August 7th | 7 pm | HSE Administration Building | 13485 Cumberland Rd, Fishers, IN 46038

City Council Meeting | Monday, August 21 | 7 pm | Launch Fishers Auditorium | 12175 Visionary Way Fishers, IN 46038

Have questions, comments, or think this needs improvement? Email me and let me know!

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