BENTON COUNTY – This May, residents living inside Benton Community School Corp.'s district will have the opportunity on their ballots to vote for or against an operating levy referendum to support the school corporation.

A resolution to place the question on the ballot during the May 5 primary was approved Monday by the Benton Community School Corp. Board of Education. The possibility of adding a referendum has been hinted at since November, when the school corporation created a financial advisory committee to address any financial challenges and to improve the financial health of the district.

Benton Community School Corp. has an annual structural deficit approaching $2 million, due to declining student enrollment and the state aid not keeping pace with inflation, according to a release, and without additional revenue, the district will have to make $2 million in budget cuts over the next two years.

If passed, Benton Community School Corp. would join neighboring school corporations that have enacted a similar operating referendum. West Lafayette residents pay 37 cents per $100 assessed value referendum tax rate to support West Lafayette Community School Corp. Tri-County School Corp. also has a referendum tax rate of 27 cents per $100 of assessed value and Frontier School Corp. has 21 cents per $100 of assessed value.

In Benton County, the referendum would be similar — an operating levy up to 31 cents per $100 of property tax at assessed value.
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