Carmel City Council approves resolution supporting renewal of Carmel Clay Schools’ operating referendum 


The Carmel City Council on Aug. 7 approved a resolution to show its support for renewal of the Carmel Clay Schools operating referendum, which will be on the Nov. 7 ballot.

The school district is proposing to keep the referendum rate at 19 cents per $100 of assessed property value. That rate has been in effect since 2017, when nearly 90 percent of Carmel voters approved it.

Carmel City Council President Jeff Worrell described CCS as the city’s “best economic partner,” as the high quality of its schools attracts residents and business to the city. He joined the seven other councilors in attendance at the meeting in supporting the resolution but asked CCS officials to annually reevaluate the tax rate to determine if it could be lowered, as an expected rise in property values would lead to the district increasing the total amount of referendum dollars it receives.

“(The referendum vote) in November could potentially give our public schools an eight-year guarantee of revenue,” he said. “I would point out that this council reviews and sets a tax rate each and every year based on circumstances. I do not take (my support of the resolution) lightly and would like to publicly ask that the school board not spend more money than it needs.”

The referendum is expected to generate nearly $24 million for CCS in 2023, approximately 20 percent of the district’s operating costs.

Councilor Kevin “Woody” Rider said most Carmel voters he’s encountered have expressed support for the referendum. He said all Carmel residents – whether they have children who attend CCS or not – benefit from a top-notch school system.

“When you take the No. 1 reason why people are coming (to Carmel) and you don’t fund it properly and keep it at the level it is, it would inevitably harm our property values,” Rider said.