Property tax referendum for Oregon-Davis schools passes

More than 60 percent of voters decided they’d rather save a Starke County school than save money.

On Tuesday, they voted overwhelmingly in favor of a property tax referendum that school leaders say will keep the Oregon-Davis School Corporation afloat.

“We have about one more year we could have stayed open,” said School Board of Trustees President Christopher Lawrence. “I was afraid other students would have left and went to other corporations. We could have lost staff and administrators and the school could have really went downhill.”

To prevent the school corporation from going downhill, residents will see a $0.19 increase per $100 of the assessed property value over the next seven years.

“Virtually with a $100,000 home, that home would see a $23 increase in taxes,” Lawrence said.

But farmers, many who own thousands of acres of land in Starke County, will end up paying much more.

Several were against the referendum, but didn’t want to speak to NewsCenter 16 on camera because it already passed.

They did say they think the school corporation should have made more cuts before asking taxpayers for money.

Lloyd Taylor already pays about $3,000 in property taxes on his farm every year, but says he’s actually happy the increase passed.

“I want to keep the school,” Taylor said. “I think the smaller the school, the better the education and the better for kids.”

Oregon-Davis is one of three corporations that passed a property tax referendum to help with operating expenses.

Zionsville and Duneland schools passed similar measures.

Four other Indiana schools had property tax referendums on Tuesday’s ballot for construction projects; only East Allen County’s proposal failed.

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