School district fields questions about possible Nov. 7 referendum on 8.5-cent tax increase

On Wednesday night, MCCSC superintendent Jeff Hauswald presented the district’s case for a referendum on Nov. 7 that would add 8.5 cents to the district’s property tax rate.

Hauswald then fielded questions from meeting attendees.

Wednesday’s meeting came the day after the school board voted unanimously to pass a resolution authorizing Hauswald to consult with Monroe County auditor Cathy Smith about the calculations that would go into increasing MCCSC’s property tax rate by 8.5 cents.

A vote to put the question to the public as a referendum could come at the school board’s June meeting.

The revenue generated by the additional tax would go towards early childhood education for 3-to-5-year-old children, as well as other initiatives to make education more accessible.

The other initiatives include free instructional technology, supplies, and consumables for all students. Also made free would be Advanced Placement (AP) exams and tests that are needed for workplace certificates. The additional revenue would also cover free career education, including tuition, testing, supplies, and associated fees.

Based on the remarks and questions from the public who spoke, the dozen and half people who attended Wednesday night’s presentation were mostly friendly to the idea of the increased tax.

But former city councilmember David Sabbagh questioned the timing of the public vote. Sabbagh said he is a strong advocate of early childhood education. He told Hauswald, “I would have trouble disagreeing with anything you said.”

Sabbagh continued, “Unfortunately, we have this thing called city government that also taxes us.” He noted the Bloomington is considering an increase to trash collection fees. Sabbagh also noted that his tax bill had already increased due to the successful 18.5-cent referendum that MCCSC had put on the ballot in 2022—which passed with 68.6 percent support.

Sabbagh asked, “I wonder if you couldn’t put it off for a year?” Continue reading “School district fields questions about possible Nov. 7 referendum on 8.5-cent tax increase”