MCCSC referendum squeaks by with 1-point margin, Bloomington residents push it over top

A Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC) referendum question won approval on Tuesday, based on the unofficial tally from the county clerk’s office.

Purple shading indicates more yes votes than no votes. Orange shading indicates  more no votes than yes votes.

The 8.5-cent property tax increase, which was proposed by MCCSC, and now approved by voters, is supposed to pay for early childhood education programs.

The margin for the referendum approval was thin—just 108 votes out of over 10,000 ballots cast.

Here’s the raw total breakdown: 5,229 yes to 5,121 no. That’s 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent.

The narrow passage reflected a number of concerns, including the fact that voters had just last year approved an MCCSC referendum.

Other voters expressed a lack of confidence in the current MCCSC administration, at least in part fueled by a recent controversy about unifying the daily schedules of all four Bloomington high schools.

The MCCSC referendum showed uneven support inside Bloomington compared to outside the city. That’s based on the precinct-by-precinct tallies released by the county clerk’s office.

Outside the city of Bloomington, two-thirds of voters cast a ballot against the referendum. By the numbers, outside Bloomington, there were 2,567 no votes (66.5%) compared to 1,292 yes votes (33.5%).

Inside the city of Bloomington, the numbers were essentially flipped. Inside Bloomington, there were 2,554 no votes (39%), compared to 3,937 yes votes (60%).

Even inside the city limits, support for the referendum was uneven.

Broken down by city council district, here’s how those percentages in favor of the referendum looked: District 1 (62.60%); District 2 (61.66%); District 3 (68.62%); District 4 (64.96%); District 5 (51.92%); District 6 (78.22%). So the referendum had majority support in every city council district.

But in District 5, which is the southeastern fringe of Bloomington, support for the referendum had just a slim majority. The centrally located District 6, on and near the Indiana University campus, showed the highest percentage support, with nearly a 4:1 margin. But in District 6, just 101 total ballots were cast.

The referendum showed uneven support along another dimension of the population—early voters compared to Election Day voters.

When the initial numbers were released, for early and absentee voters, it looked like the referendum would pass with something like 54 percent support. But Election Day voters in Monroe County tend to trend a bit more conservative than their early voting counterparts.

So as the later results came in, the 8-point edge slipped. Among Election Day voters, the referendum did not have majority support. The final unofficial tally was just 1 point, or 108 votes.

MCCSC referendum results: Numbers
Early Absentee Election Day Total
NO 1,334 176 3,611 5,121
YES 1,523 249 3,457 5,229
Total 2,857 425 7,068 10,350


MCCSC referendum results: Percentages
Early Absentee Election Day Total
NO 46.69% 41.41% 51.09% 49.48%
YES 53.31% 58.59% 48.91% 50.52%




6 thoughts on “MCCSC referendum squeaks by with 1-point margin, Bloomington residents push it over top

  1. The slim margin of voters approving this referendum is a far cry from earlier years when the YES vote was greater than 70%. This reflects a lack of trust and confidence in the present MCCSC administration. The MCCSC board should take note as they consider the renewal of the superintendent’s contract.

    Next year and in the years that follow, MCCSC should report to the public on:
    1. How many eligible children receive Pre-K funding support from MCCSC per school year
    2. How many eligible children receive Pre-K services at MCCSC properties with the help of this funding
    3. A list of private Pre-K organizations approved by MCCSC to be used by eligible children getting MCCSC funding for Pre-K education
    4. How many eligible children enroll at approved private Pre-K providers with financial support from MCCSC
    5. In future, there should be longitudinal annual reporting from MCCSC on whether the Pre-K initiative meets the stated goal of the referendum. That is, how the funded children as a group fared on the standardized tests as compared to their peers. Did they catch up? Did they equal peers? Did they exceed peers?
    6. Finally, if there is not sufficient demand for these MCCSC funds for Pre-K from the targeted audience, to what other purpose is MCCSC intending to use the funds, or will it go into a special dedicated Pre-K fund for future use by eligible 3 and 4-year-olds?

    1. This is an excellent set of performance indicators. One of the primary causes of disillusionment and dissatisfaction with government is the lack of accountability. When decisions are made based on a set of goals, those goals should be measurably achieved or the funding should be rescinded. Just like in the real world.

      Questions for Dave:
      What is the amount of money we spend per student? And what is the split of funding for the budget (is it 100% taxpayer funded)? You’ve done a great job explaining how this increase will affect people using the example of a $250,000 home owner. I’d love to see the total amount that homeowner pays toward MCCSC per year as well as how much they pay per student.

      Another possibility would be to graph historical budget to student performance over the years.

    2. There is also a lack of trust in the board that seems a bit chaotic. Where were they in support of the referendum? What did they do to help it pass?

    3. Standardized tests are not a good measurement of anything except SES

  2. Is the increase an 8.5 percent raise or an 8.5 cent increase in the tax rate? I believe it is the latter.

    1. It is 8.5 cents. I am not in a spot to correct the mistake immediately, but will fix it as soon as I can. Thank you for pointing that out.

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