When I first ran for school board in 2012, I did so because I was opposed to school referendums. The ensuing seven years have been extremely eye-opening about how school finance works in Indiana. I now know that referendums are indeed the only way that school districts such as ZCS (and many others across the state) can possibly maintain an adequate number of teachers to preserve appropriate class sizes within the current school funding structure. The state also now requires that any major school construction project receive voter approval through a referendum.
So, this year ZCS is asking voters to vote ‘yes’ to continue the operating referendum that was first approved in 2012 and also approve a construction referendum to build a new elementary school, provide additional needed classrooms at the high school and make other improvements throughout the district. Our school board unanimously voted to place both of these questions on this year’s ballot.
ZCS has been the lowest-funded school district per pupil in the state for many years. As a community, our poverty level is low and so our schools receive significantly less funding based on the state’s school funding formula. I have seen school leadership cut costs in every area possible, generate income through creative and thoughtful use of resources and thoughtfully manage debt to lessen the impact on taxpayers, but these referendums are still absolutely vital to avoid drastic cuts to teachers and programs.
Please join me in voting ‘yes’ on Nov. 5.
Joe Stein, Zionsville