Voters in two local districts approve funding measures

Voters in Washington Township in Marion County and in Westfield Washington Schools in Hamilton County on Tuesday approved referendums to increase school funding.

Washington Township residents approved two referendums. One would let the district make improvements to most of its buildings. The other would be used to hire teachers.

Both measures received about 70 percent approval from voters.

The construction referendum asked property owners for an extra 28 cents for every $100 of assessed value. The operations measure sought an additional 11 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The initiatives are expected to raise $230 million over seven years. Between the two tax increases, a family with a home at the district’s median market value and median assessed value — $173,200 and $80,330 respectively — would be looking at paying about $315 more per year in property taxes. That’s a whopping 76 percent increase that would bring the district’s total tax rate on assessed home value to about 90 cents, up from 51 cents.

In Westfield, the school district proposed a tax hike of 20 cents per $100 of assessed value. For a home valued at $250,000, the new referendum would cost about $260 annually.

The tax rate in Westfield will actually fall. Voters approved a tax hike of 23 cents per $100 of assessed value in November 2010 and it is set to expire next year. Under the current rate, a homeowner with a $250,000 house pays about $299 annually.

The school district says it needs the funding to keep certain programs in place and maintain class sizes.

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