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12/14/2017 6:23:00 PM
Lake Central schools to consider $55 million referendum for May 2018 ballot

Meredith Colias-Pete, Post-Tribune

The Lake Central school district is considering whether it will seek a nearly $55 million budget referendum in May, according to its superintendent.

The school board is expected to vote on whether it will advance a referendum to voters next month.

If approved, it would seek an operating referendum that would levy about 17 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, said Superintendent Larry Veracco. It would be expected to raise just under $7 million per year over eight years.

It would be placed on the ballot for May, when voters will also consider a primary election for Democratic and Republican hopefuls for Lake County Sheriff and other county, state and federal offices. Winners in the primary will represent their party in the November general election.

"We actually want a big turnout," he said after a public presentation at Lake Central High School that was attended by more than 50 people Wednesday. "We want to know what our people think."

The money would supplement the district's general fund — its main spending account that covers staff salaries, academic programs and day-to-day expenses. The ballot question would ask voters to fund teacher salaries and programs, while maintaining class sizes.

The Lake Central district has an enrollment of 9,586 students this year, according to state figures. It has six elementary schools, three middle schools and one high school housing 3,310 students in grades nine through 12.

Voters last approved a building referendum in November 2011 that called for a $160 million in construction projects including renovations at the high school and replacing an elementary school.

In 2009, they rejected a $95 million proposed referendum for expansion and renovations at Lake Central High School.

This year, five Northwest Indiana districts have asked voters for a funding increase through property taxes including Munster, East Chicago, Lake Station, Hobart and Hammond. Only East Chicago voters rejected that district's bid.

Related Stories:
• Alexandria's $19 million bond referendum coming in spring
• Goshen schools officials to seek referendums totaling about $65 million in May 2018

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