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Buses exit the parking lot at Goshen Middle School after unloading students for the first day of the school year August 9, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard, File) (AP)
Elkhart Chamber endorses school referendums
Posted on Feb. 23, 2014 at 12:30 p.m.

A group that represents the interests of Elkhart businesses said it supports a raise in local taxes.

The Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce board of directors voted unanimously to support both Elkhart and Concord's school referendums, according to a statement from the organization Friday, Feb. 21.

Elkhart Community Schools and Concord Community Schools have asked local residents to vote for an increase in taxes in the May election. The schools said they need the additional tax money to fund transportation, safety updates, building repairs and more.

The Chamber's position is that "education is critically important to economic development," according to the statement.

Blake Unger, chairman of the Chamber's board, wrote in part of the statement that the Chamber wants students to be the best they can be.

"We must receive well-educated and career-ready students who are able to contribute to the health of our community and the competitiveness of our member business," Unger wrote.

Schools have less funds and more restrictions in their budgets since property tax caps took effect, and it's possible the state might cut school budgets even more, the statement said.

Those factors caused Chamber members to endorse the school referendums and ask local people to support the schools with a "yes" vote in May.

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks