November School Bus Referendum Supported by League of Women Voters
Muncie, Indiana – Simply put, the State Legislature put Muncie Community Schools into the fiscal crisis that requires a referendum on November 5. If it fails, there will be no bus transportation for MCS students in 2014-15.
Local Property taxes can be used for five educational purposes: debt service, pension debt, transportation, capital projects, and bus replacement. Indiana legislators voted in 2011-12 to protect the first two funds from the effect of the tax caps. The other funds must absorb the full tax cap burden. As a result, what was $3.7 M in the transportation fund will become less than $750,000 in 2014. School finances are very complicated; money in one category cannot be used in another.
This is not a ploy for tax money by using student safety as an emotional issue. MCS had no choice; they already made deep cuts in preparation for the tax caps and have no other option than a referendum.
For legal reasons, the wording of the referendum does not include “bus” or “transportation”. Voters will be approving a cap of $0.3939 cents per $100/assessed valuation, but for the first year it will be $0.22, based on current assessed valuation in the township.
After extensive study, the League of Women Voters recommends that Muncie citizens vote “Yes” November 5.