Letter: Vote no to the Noblesville Schools referendum

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Editor,

1. This requested increase is a whopping 95.8 percent of a 2-year-old 2016 approved referendum.

2. Assessed values of homes in Noblesville rose 5 percent in 2018, increasing your taxes and school funding by more than 5 percent.

3. Referendum Post Debt 2009 is already increasing 3.5 percent in 2019 per approved previous referendum.

4. Referendum Post Debt 2009 will have increased 60.2 percent since 2014. That’s in only four years.

5. Seventy-percent of homeowners in Noblesville Township do not have school-aged children living in their homes.

The referendum requests funding for three areas – mental health, safety improvements and teacher pay.

Mental Health: Enhanced focus, including student screening and more counselors.

1. Do you, as a property owner, feel that you are financially responsible for the screening and diagnosis of 10,572 Noblesville students year after year?

2. Do you, as a parent, want to subject your child to random screening without your consent?

3. Are schools, with a child’s peers right next to them, the best environment for mental health screening, with no HIPPA controls and no coordination through the child’s pediatrician or family doctor?

4. An incorrect diagnosis could harm a student for years, and subject schools/taxpayers to lawsuits.

Safety: Expanded protections, including more police officers and safety equipment.

1. The schools have been an extremely safe environment for years.

2. None of the hastily proposed safety measures will prevent an active shooter situation.

3. The Noblesville shooter was handcuffed in 2 minutes and 34 seconds after the first shot with current funding.

4. Some of the requests are for duplicate services already provided by the city and county.

Staff pay: Pay competitively with neighbor district to keep good teachers and staff.

1. Only 17, or 2.5 percent, of 674 teachers left Noblesville Schools in 2017 over competitive salary issues.

2. A flat pay increase, as proposed, rewards quality teachers at the same rate as below-average teachers.

3. School presentations are vague and have no factual evidence to corroborate their claims.

4. The neighboring districts (Carmel, Hamilton Southeastern and Westfield) are among the highest taxed in the state.  Is increased taxation the only way to be competitive, assuming that we aren’t already?

Summary

Voting on this referendum is Nov. 6. It is very important that you educate yourself on this in order to be able to make an informed decision. No one is saying either of these three issues is not something that needs to be addressed. However, this plan is poorly conceived and, frankly, should be presented to the voter in two or three referendums and not in this all-or-nothing fashion that preys on voter emotion, without definitive cost projections or measurable goals, after the tragic events of May 25. Simply asking for even more of your hard-earned tax dollars to fund a plan that provides little substance is a waste.

Just “doing something” is an injustice to the kids, the taxpayer and the schools.

Corey Swanson

Noblesville

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