We are responding to the public dialogue that has transpired between State Rep. Wes Culver and Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder. As board trustees for the Goshen Community Schools, we take our responsibilities very seriously. This includes being financially prudent, which we always strive to accomplish. As the property tax caps have hit our transportation, capital projects, bus replacement and debt service funds, we have made the necessary adjustments to “live within our means” as Rep. Culver suggests in his Dec. 23 letter (“Additional Elkhart County tax is the wrong way to go”).
In our case, this means asking more children to walk further to school or to a bus stop, so that we could eliminate enough bus routes to meet our decreased transportation budget. We have also delayed upgrading technology and other expenditures that would normally have occurred in the past from the CPF budget, delayed the purchase of buses, thereby having older vehicles on the road, etc.
We therefore support the concept that Commissioner Yoder is promoting, that of a circuit breaker relief local option income tax (LOIT), which was conceived by the Indiana Intergovernmental Forum. This LOIT would decrease as the need for replacement revenue decreases. The concept is that as assessed valuation rises because the Elkhart County economy continues to grow, the need for this LOIT will decrease. This calculation would be an integral part of this LOIT and over time, the need for this LOIT could disappear.
On behalf of the 6,500 children of Goshen whom we serve, we believe this represents a fiscally responsible option to continue to provide the best possible education services. Our children are our future, so their safety and providing an excellent education for them are our top priorities. Adequate funds are needed to accomplish this mission.
Goshen Community School Board
(Jane Troup, Dan West, Cathie Cripe, Perry Haimes, Jim Ramer, Bob Duell, Roger Nafziger)