Next week EastAllenCounty residents will have two choices: either to raise property taxes for the sake of education or to oppose the hike and possibly face teacher cuts.
"We believe that it's a good education plan for our children and it's also going to save us some money” says East Allen County School Board President Janice Witte.
Early this month, the EACS board passed a major district redesign. Some schools will close, and others will be restructured. It will save $6.9-million. It's a big chunk of money, but not enough to get the district out of the hole. EACS still needs another $1.2-million. Officials say a referendum is the best solution.
“We have no other way to increase our revenue” says Witte.
The referendum will be placed on next Tuesday’s ballot. If passed, it'll bring in up to $8.1-million dollars, which is enough to eliminate the district's deficit and also hopefully make smaller class sizes, help with our dual credits for high school students,
summer school, and technology.
Some residents say they're in favor of the hike.
"If it's absolutely necessary and there's no other choice, I suppose we'd have to go for it” East Allen resident Scott Fisher told FOX Fort Wayne back in August.
But others are against it. In a statement New Haven Mayor Terry McDonald says the referendum is "the easy way out."
So what would happen if the referendum doesn't pass?
"If it doesn't pass then we will have to make $1.2-million in cuts."
And will extracurricular activities be the first to go?"
“We try and keep it as far away from the classroom as possible” says Witte.
But teacher cuts would be a possibility.
"In our budget personnel and their benefits are 90-some-percent of our budget, so that would end up part of it, yes” Witte says.