Elkhart residents to vote on school referendums

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. -- Elkhart public school officials are pleading with voters to vote yes to two referendum items on the ballot Tuesday. They would improve transportation and make several schools in the district safer - but at a cost.

The two items on the ballot would generate $47 million over several years.

"Three things: transportation of our students, repair to our building, and the safety needs of our building," said Dr. Robert Haworth, Superintendent of Elkhart Community Schools.

A lot is at stake for Elkhart Community Schools. That’s when voters get to decide on two potential tax increases.

Both referenda would impact how students get to school and how safe they are once they get there.

Haworth says the increases are long overdue.

“We’ve cut costs to the point where our students have to walk two miles to school. Any more cuts - and we’re going to affect our band and orchestra program, we’re going to affect other extracurricular activities - our gifted and talented program," said Haworth.

A lack of funding is an issue plaguing dozens of districts statewide, but in Elkhart, the impact is more pronounced.

The cost of voting yes for both questions is just shy of $47 million stretched out over nineteen years.

“The cost of those two questions combined - to the average homeowner - $6.18 a month. When you think of that cost to the average homeowner, are definitely worth that cost," said Haworth.

A few different plans are in place for the district should Tuesday's outcome be unfavorable, but school officials remain hopeful voters will approve both referenda.

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