Here's a list of the most commonly asked questions about the 2023 Referendum.
1. Why is having a good school system important?
Good schools attract new businesses and new people to a community. They help retain businesses by providing a highly-skilled and well-educated workforce. And this makes our Mishawaka school system one of the smartest investments we can make toward the economic health of our city and everyone who lives here.
2. Why should I vote Yes for Mishawaka Schools if I don’t have children in the school system?
The current growth and development in Mishawaka is supported by a good school system. It increases the quality of life for everyone in the area. And, people want the best schools for their children and will pay more to live in a community where the schools have a good reputation. They avoid communities that have schools with a poor reputation. Just ask a realtor.
3. What did you do with the money from the last operating referendum?
We were able to fund new technology hardware and software, adjust class sizes, expand educational offerings and make sure that our teachers and staff are compensated at competitive rates. The 2016 operating referendum expires in 2023 and this operating referendum allows School City of Mishawaka to continue the progress made.
4. Can't the money come from somewhere else?
No. Funding for schools has changed and state funding is based on enrollment. In addition, property tax caps limit the amount of funding a school can receive.
5. Didn't you receive a lot of money from the Federal Government during COVID? What did you do with all of that money?
Yes. We did receive Federal COVID dollars. Those monies were spent on updating some HVAC systems and to help make-up learning loss during the COVID shut-downs. In short, the money was used to help fund additional aides, tutoring services and social workers across all grade levels.
6. What will this money be used for?
This operating referendum will update additional technology, add additional security measures in each school, and continue to ensure our teachers and staff are compensated at competitive rates.
7. What happens if this doesn't pass?
Mishawaka Schools may be forced to forego important technology or security updates. It's possible teachers and staff may not be compensated at a rate comparable to their peers in the region.
8. Who pays the referendum tax?
Property owners who live within the School City of Mishawaka boundaries pay the referendum as part of their yearly property taxes. This referendum will simply extend what property owners are currently paying.
9. How long will taxpayers be impacted by the referendum?
If passed by the voters the Operating levy will be for 8 years (2023-2031).
10. Is there another way to fund these projects?
We have no other way to fund these repairs and improvements. State tax funding for local schools has changed dramatically.