By Ann Marie Shambaugh
The lone item on the Zionsville general election ballot – the Zionsville Community Schools referendum – passed easily Nov. 3, with 67.28 percent of 6,259 voters casting ballots in favor of the tax.
The final, though unofficial, results held in line with early voting numbers, which showed about 70 percent of people voting in support of the referendum. The previous referendum, which expires at the end of the year, passed in 2012 with about 58 percent of the vote.
The referendum is for a six-year term and maintains the current tax rate – a maximum of 24 cents per $100 of net-assessed value – and could be decreased but never increased depending on state funding in the next six years.
If the referendum hadn’t passed, ZCS officials said they would have had to slash programs, cut as many as 120 employees and balloon class sizes to 40 or more students.
“Renewing the referendum allows us to restore key academic services for our students, protect class sizes and property values and operate ZCS with financial stability once again,” stated Shari Alexander Richey, ZCS board of trustees president. “Our sleeves are rolled up to continue lobbying legislators for a fix to the broken funding formula.”
ZCS receives less per-pupil state funding than any other district in Indiana, even after changes to the formula earlier this year led to a slight increase in funds. ZCS Superintendent Scott Robison has partnered with officials from other districts near the bottom of the list to urge lawmakers to make additional changes to the funding formula. The passing of the referendum will give the group – known as the Fix-It Coalition – six more years to advocate for change.
Also in Boone County, Matt Gentry, a 2007 Zionsville Community High School graduate, was elected mayor of Lebanon with more than 65 percent of the vote. In Whitestown, incumbent Eric Miller received about 70 percent of the vote to retain his seat in District 3, and Jeffrey A. Wishek was elected to District 4 with about 65 percent of the vote.