EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - We learned of one way the district could raise money for pay increases for teachers at Monday night’s Evansville School Board meeting.
The school board is considering putting a referendum on the next election ballot that would come in the form of a property tax.
After thousands of educators rallied for higher pay at the state capitol in November, legislators said local school districts could do more to increase teacher pay.
“While they may say that’s local control, not one penny for the additional support staff that we need in order to carry out what the state-mandated, we do,” said Superintendent Dr. David Smith.
Now the ESVC School Board is considering asking the community to pass a referendum, which would put a property tax in place to pay for higher teacher salaries and keep more teachers.
“We do retain good staff, but we’re not retaining them, they are all hanging by their fingernails,” said board member David Hollingsworth.
Time is ticking to get the referendum on the May, or even November ballot. A lot of work has to be done.
“70 percent of people in this area do not have children in the schools," said board member Andrew Guarino. “It’s a difficult task, you gotta run a full campaign just as if you were running as an individual.”
In order to put a referendum in place, the school’s governing body must prove, among other things, that it cannot carry out its duties without the tax.
One board member noted the school system is excelling in some areas right now, suggesting the board wait before asking the community for the tax.
“We got a problem, and I’m not gonna sit here and say that things aren’t going to be better, or we’re gonna need something else," said Hollingsworth. “But we need it now, we need it now.”
The board tabled the referendum discussion until possibly the next meeting