By Times of Northwest Indiana Staff Report

Under new state law, school construction projects over set amounts will require approval in a referendum.

A remonstrance process now allows the public to raise objections to and sign petitions for or against construction projects. Many educators say that process works well. The referendum requirement, they say, will only add delays, complication and cost.

Billed as an effort to give more local input, the requirement is designed simply to block much school construction, said Denny Costerison, executive director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials. With 80 percent of voters not having a child in school, it will become very hard to gain approval for any property tax increase to pay off a construction bond, he said.

Starting July 1, elementary and middle school building projects of more than $10 million and high school projects costing more than $20 million will need to be approved by popular vote.

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