This spring, Concord Community Schools is asking taxpayers to vote for a temporary increase in property taxes to cover some of its losses after Indiana capped property taxes. There will be an additional tax levy of $0.405 or every $100 of assessed property value if the referendum passes in May.
Two groups have been formed in support and opposition to the referendum. 'Yes for Concord Kids' is trying to bring attention to the school district's needs and financial struggles. 'Vote No in Concord' is against the referendum, saying that schools should make more dramatic cuts to their budget rather than ask for more taxpayer money.
The Elkhart Truth also approached Wayne Stubbs, superintendent of Concord schools, to answer some of our reader's frequently asked questions.
When we posted the story about 'Vote No in Concord' to our website and on social media, we had a number of responses from readers who agreed and disagreed with the group. Here's what some of them had to say. (We have not edited the comments and have left them as they appear in our stories' comments section and on social media.)
"Penny wise and dollar foolish. Don't invest in schools and drive down property values as MANY choose where they live by the quality of the schools and the programs that are offered. State cuts have been DRASTIC. State taxes have gone down. Please get out and VOTE for our kids--our future. You know those against the referendum will be out." - Beth Kirkpatrick (Comment taken from Facebook)
"I see new and remodeled facilities in concord I have 2 children in concord schools I would love a look at the financial records before people decide if it's right to raise property taxes in the area. Hard times have gripped most of the country and cuts are to be expected, but some of the complaints on this link from the staff at the older facilities in concord school corporation concerns me and makes me question the budgeting of the funds they currently receive." - Joe Miller (Comment taken from Facebook)
"Give the schools the money, people pay to live in great school districts for a reason, My children have lost all fieldtrips except for walking to Oxbow park, i dont know about the rest of you but who didnt love fieldtrips. And i'm over this choice of school crap, you want to go to our schools and use our transportation then either pay to live in our school district or pay the price for the privlege to attend!! Our schools are over crowed because of this and we cant afford to lose anymore staff!!!" - Heather Maesch Vanschoyck (Comment taken from Facebook)
"I don't understand how a Third World Country like Sri Lanka can pass a 15% across the board flat tax with massive public support that solely funds public education. Our country is so much more wealthy that we could spend 5% of our income flat to fund much more. For 15% we could send every child in Indiana through the University level with a full scholarship. I wonder how many people in Sri Lanka could dream of even having a car at all let alone an old one. Americans like this guy have grown so selfish...kids come first and Elkhart County is incredibly wealthy relative to the rest of the world. We invented public education. I am not opposed to sports programs being cut but it's dumb that school is not year round and that teachers are not paid much more..there is no job more important." - Tom Butler (Comment taken from story's comments section)
"There are many places to enjoy extracurricluar activities. Boys and Girls Clubs, Brownies, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, taxpayer paid for Tolson Center in Elkhart, YWCA, YMCA, many church and community organizations of which many are free, kids playing with friends in taxpayer paid for parks, kids playing and "hanging out" with friends in their neighborhood. Kids could even help around their house or help their grandparents to keep occupied and learn how to beome caring productive citizens. Education FIRST as that is what helps one go to college, a trade school or the work force. Teachers and schools are to TEACH, to EDUCATE, not be parents or babysitters. When funds are limited, choices must be made. If schools cannot bus the students to school, schools certainly cannot afford or need other activities as schools say without bussing, the kids won't be able to get to school anyway." - PKurpgeweit (Comment taken from story's comments section)
What are your thoughts about Concord schools' upcoming referendum? Do you think schools need more money or more further cuts to their budgets?