What is an operating referendum, who receives the money and who is allowed to vote for it?

A school corporation may conduct a referendum to create a property tax levy for the purpose of supplementing the revenue it receives from the state funding formula. The Hamilton Southeastern Schools (HSE) Board of Trustees passed a resolution that states the proposed referendum would be used to supplement existing revenues received from the state of Indiana for the purpose of managing class sizes and essential health and safety initiatives, retaining teachers and staff, and funding academic and educationally related programs.

An operating referendum creates an additional levy that goes into a special fund titled the “referendum fund” for a period not to exceed eight years. However, a referendum tax rate may be re-imposed or extended under the law if approved by the voters of the district.

The reduced-rate referendum is a renewal of a referendum passed by voters in the HSE district in 2016. In order to renew the referendum, Indiana law requires HSE Schools to hold a new election. The maximum tax rate on the November 2023 ballot is reduced by over 12% from the maximum rate in 2016. On or before November 7, 2023, voters registered in the HSE school district will be voting to extend the referendum for up to another eight years.

The referendum revenue is collected by the county through the property tax bills of property taxpayers in the school district. The money does not pass through the state but goes directly to the school district for the purposes of supplementing the education and operation funds of the school corporation. The education fund pays for faculty and staff.

The referendum is only on the ballot of voters registered to vote in the HSE district, which includes three townships: Delaware, Fall Creek, and Wayne. Registered voters living outside of the HSE district will not be voting on the referendum. The referendum tax rate will continue only if the ballot question receives a “YES” vote from the majority of voters.