MONTGOMERY — Barr-Reeve Community Schools Superintendent Travis Madison updated school board members Tuesday on the timetable for a proposed operating referendum.
The referendum would impose a tax levy to compensate for lost state revenue in the past few years. Madison explained that roughly $300,000 in state funds has been pulled from the school twice. Also, a levy that used to be in place was eliminated in Gov. Mitch Daniels’ tax reforms.
“What we used to do with that levy, we’re attempting to do with the referendum levy,” he said, adding that a fund would be set up for specific school expenditures, and there would be accountability measures set up.
“Expenditures haven’t gone up much since 2002. Fiscally, the corporation has been very responsible.”
He described the referendum as a safety net to maintain the current level of quality education for Barr-Reeve students. What it boils down to, according to the superintendent, is whether or not residents want Barr-Reeve to survive and what it’s worth to them to keep the schools.
The referendum would propose a property tax rate over seven years not to exceed 35 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. For a $100,000 home, that’s $114, he said; on a $200,000 home, it’s $342. Madison said the amount will vary annually, but should never reach the 35-cent maximum. If the 35-cent figure is used, he said, it would amount to $920,000 for that calendar year, based on current assessed value.
“My hope is that we’d never need half the amount in any year,” he said. “That gives me a lot of room to breathe.”
If the referendum fails and Barr-Reeve is consolidated with another school corporation at some point, Madison said residents will inherit the tax rate for that other corporation. He said Barr-Reeve currently is the lowest in the area.