On Aug. 21, Zionsville Community Schools Supt. Scott Robison presented on the upcoming referenda questions preceding a mayoral town hall forum between candidates Tim Haak, the incumbent, and Emily Styron during a Village Residents Association meeting at SullivanMunce Cultural Center.
Robison opened by sharing statistics showing ZCS schools are above capacity. The data showed that Boone Meadow Elementary is at 105 percent above capacity and Union Elementary is projected to be near that percentage by next year.
Robison also spoke on the operating referendum and a capital referendum to fund the construction of a sixth elementary school, along with the addition of 32 classrooms to Zionsville Community High School and funding long-term maintenance, repairs and renovation to each of the district’s buildings.
“A renewal of the operating referendum pays for a third of teachers and counselors,” Robison said. “Indiana has become a referendum state.”
If approved, the operating referendum renewal would replace the 2015 operating referendum for another eight years at the same tax rate of 24.4 cents, the same rate which was approved in 2015.
If approved, the capital referendum would establish a tax rate of 19.69 cents.
Robison said ZCS is the lowest-funded school district in the state. He reminded those not in favor of growth that the school’s role is still the same.
“For those folks not in favor of growth in the community, we need to remind them that the school’s role is to educate children and our (school) board doesn’t make any decision about land use,” he said.
Robison also spoke on how ZCS has fulfilled promises it made with past referenda. If the two questions are approved on the Nov. 5 ballot, Robison said ZCS plans to build the sixth elementary school by 2022 and then go through a redistricting process for ZCS only one time.
“Redistricting is a very difficult thing in families’ lives, so we would like to do it only once,” he said.
If the capital referendum is approved, Robison said the high school addition and reconfiguration would be necessary by 2023.
Robison said because the operating referendum funds one-third of teachers and counselors, if it’s not approved, essentially one-third of that staff “goes out the window.”
For more on the referenda or to use a tax calculator to estimate a property’s taxes if the referenda are approved, visit zcs.k12.in.us.