ANDERSON — The Anderson Community Schools Board of Trustees is requesting 15 percent of the Tax Increment Financing revenues from the city of Anderson.

School board member Jeff Barranco at the Anderson City Council meeting Thursday read a letter from ACS Board President Patrick Hill indicating the school system is entitled to 15 percent of the annual TIF revenues.

In his letter, Hill said school systems around the state are seeking to claim some of the lost income. 

At the ARC meeting, Barranco said ACS lost $1.9 million through the TIF district that could have been used in the classroom in 2018.

“I was told this request was dead on arrival,” he said Tuesday. “The school system has lost $2 million a year.

“We are not going away,” Barranco said. “We have a right to ask for the money. The Redevelopment Commission can ignore the request, but we will take the message elsewhere. This is us drawing a line in the sand.”

During the city council meeting, Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said half of the current TIF district in the city is part of the South Madison Community School Corporation district.

“State law allows the Redevelopment Commission to contract with an entity, including school corporations, for programs outlined in the statute,” he said. “It is meant to promote economic development after certain findings.”

Broderick said 15 percent is the maximum amount that can be spent on any proposal.

“There has been no proposal from ACS for a specific program,” he said. “I’m a huge supporter of the public school system. It takes years to develop a TIF district that brings investment to the city.”

Councilman Greg Graham, D-at large, said TIF is not a simple program.

“It gives Anderson and our citizens a new future,” he said. “TIF is responsible for the growth that has created up to 4,000 jobs.” 

Randy Harrison, president of the Anderson Federation of Teachers, said former ACS board member Keith Millikan said TIF districts would harm public education.

He blamed some of the lost revenues for local units of government on the property tax caps implemented by the Indiana General Assembly.

“We are starving financially,” Harrison said. “This school district in a few years could be the next Muncie or Gary.”

The Indiana Department of Education took over the operations of the Muncie and Gary school systems in 2018 because of financial problems.

Local resident Tim Perry said without TIF, there would not be growth in Anderson.

“This is an investment,” he said.

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