Floyd Co. voters to decide school safety tax referendum in Indiana primary

Floyd Co. voters to decide school safety tax referendum in Indiana primary

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WAVE) - Floyd County voters will decide the fate of safety funding for their school corporation in Tuesday's Indiana primary.

The ballot referendum would amount to around $3 million a year for eight years for the New Albany-Floyd County Schools.

It comes after the Indiana state legislature passed a bill which allows schools to put a property tax increase to a vote to generate funds for social, emotional, safety, and security needs.

It’s something Misty Ronau, the chairperson of the Safety for Our Schools Floyd County PAC, which supports the tax increase, believes the state should already be funding itself.

"The state should make it a priority, and make these resources available for every single student in Indiana public schools," Ronau said. "Until they do, the state general assembly has laid this decision at the feet of Floyd County voters."

According to the school website, dollars will go toward anti-bullying, violence and other training and primarily add around a dozen mental health and social professionals.

It will also add about half a dozen further security personnel, including two or three SROs, and be used to secure and harden facilities.

The corporation states that will come at a price of an 8.5 cent increase, which it states comes out to around $26 per year for a $100,000 house.

Some opponents said schools are already safe enough, and they don't like the way funds have been used by the school corporation in the past.

"The last construction, the 2017 bonds, and earmarked it for a lavish new soccer field," Joseph Moore, a member of Grassroots Concerned Citizens, said.

Moore said he doesn't like the current plan for how referendum dollars would be used, adding he wants more of a security focus than one on mental health.

"We all want help from our troubled students, even though we cant catch or fix everything," Moore said. "While its nice to have counselor types available, I and other folks are far more worried about a weapon in someones backpack, than a chip on their shoulder."

Ronau said a 'yes' vote for the referendum is needed to keep students healthy and safe, especially, she added, because they live in an area lacking mental health resources.

"The schools are asking for our help," Ronau said. "This is a community buy in. This is an absolute way to improve the overall health and well-being of our kids."

The school corporation has made referendum tax calculator available at its website.

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