School City of Mishawaka pushes for renewed referendum, enhance school safety

NOW: School City of Mishawaka pushes for renewed referendum, enhance school safety

MISHAWAKA, Ind. --- Officials at the School City of Mishawaka are asking voters to say "yes" to renewing the district’s operating referendum.

"We believe that part of a good community is good schools, and so we want to hold up our end of the bargain," says Superintendent of the School City of Mishawaka, Dr. Theodore Stevens.

If approved, the 2023 referendum will continue to use tax dollars to invest into Mishawaka schools. This time around, a major focus is enhancing school safety. 

"We’d just like to take it to that next level to enhance the safety of our students and our staff," Dr. Stevens explains.

He says recent mass shootings in schools across the country has Mishawaka schools looking for ways to ensure students and staff are as safe as possible. He wants to pay for a Student Resource Officer in every school building. Right now, the seven elementary buildings share only one resource officer. 

Teresa Kobuld, a Mishawaka resident, agrees. She wants to know her two-year-old grandson will be safe attending Mishawaka schools in the coming years. 

"I want to feel confident that when he goes to school, he’s coming home," Kobuld says about her young grandchild, and future student of Mishawaka schools. "I feel that if there is somebody out there who wants to do harm, they’re not going to go to a school that has a police officer in it." 

However, it comes at a price. The referendum renewal itself is not increasing its tax rate, but property taxes are on the rise for many Mishawaka residents. 

"Some concerns are with the taxes and the assessed value of their property has gone up, and of course since the assessed value goes up, their taxes go up," addresses Dr. Stevens.

"I know it’s tough on some people who live on a fixed income," Kobuld admits. "I’m retired, I live on a fixed income, but this is important to me." 

She believes it’s money well spent.

"The money is going towards something good, and I feel School City really watches their dollars and how they spend them," Kobuld says.

The Support Mishawaka Schools website has a tax calculator for Mishawaka residents to see how much their tax bill will be impacted by the referendum. The question of whether or not voters support renewing the referendum will appear on the May 2nd Primary Election ballot.

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