ALPARAISO — Union Township voters will be asked May 5 to continue a tax increase they previously granted Union Township School Corp. for operating costs.

School Superintendent John Hunter said if voters reject the proposal, the district would have to reduce spending by $1.2 million.

The school district’s referendum asks voters to impose a property tax rate not to exceed 21 cents per $100 assessed valuation for “funding academic and educationally related programs, managing class sizes, and attracting and retaining teacher and staff for the children.”

Since 2014, the school district has imposed the maximum 22-cent tax rate three times, in 2016, 2017 and 2018, according to a school district newsletter sent out this month. The new referendum would lower the maximum rate by a penny.

The Union Township School Board approved the new referendum last week. The Porter County Election Board approved it Tuesday.

The newsletter cited a March 2019 study on education funding and teacher compensation in Indiana. The state lags its neighbors, and most other states, in funding for public education, the study said.

Indiana allows school districts to ask voters to approve property tax increases for operating expenses. The referendums have met with mixed results statewide.

Hunter expects Union Township’s proposal to pass again. In 2013, voters overwhelmingly approved the increase.

“Part of the reason we have a good school corporation is we have a very supportive community,” Hunter said.

The increase granted in 2013 has allowed Union Township to remain competitive with nearby school districts on salary and benefits while adding curriculum offerings for high school students and improving students’ safety, Hunter said.

A political action committee has been organized to begin work on promoting the extension of the existing tax increase, he said.
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