The Indiana State Legislature is voting this month on a bill that would take away your right to a referendum -- your right to vote -- on any new school buildings.
House Bill 1730 would make it possible for cities to build and remodel schools without a referendum -- without giving taxpayers a chance to vote on it -- if the schools are "green" or energy efficient. If any new construction includes energy saving options, it means you lose your right to vote on all new buildings.
The bill now is before the Indiana Senate, which will vote on it before the session ends at the end of April.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Contact your State senator (Frank Mrvan is Hammond’s) at (800) 382-9467 to let him know it is important to keep your right to vote on any new school buildings.
Contact Governor Mitch Daniels at 317-232-4567 and tell him to Veto the bill if it does reach his desk.
The House of Representatives already voted 52 to 48 to pass this bill. Did your representative vote to take away your rights to a referendum?
State House district 1 Linda Lawson voted YES email H1@IN.gov
State House district 11 Dan Stevenson voted YES email H11@IN.gov
State House district 12 Mara Candelaria Reardon voted YES email H12@IN.gov
If you are not happy that they are taking away your right to vote on these important and very large school spending issues, let them know.
Why it is so important to keep your right to vote on new schools
The School City of Hammond already has overburdened the taxpayers.
Debt obligations for the School City of Hammond total more than $330 MILLION*
*Principle and interest, rounded to millions, from the Indiana Dept. of Education
- That amount of debt comes to more than $23,000 per student.
- The $104 million in interest on that debt is more than the entire debt of the City of Hammond.
- Taxpayers of Hammond ultimately are responsible for this debt.
Building another high school could add another $250 million to that tax burden.
The School City of Hammond is failing the students.
The graduation rate for all Hammond schools ranks in the lowest 2% of all Indiana school districts.
More than half of Hammond's schools are failing:
Eight schools are on Academic Watch.
Five schools are on probation, with two of those in their 3rd year of probation.
None of Hammond’s four high schools meet State minimum requirements.
What you can do:
Attend the next school board meeting Thursday, April 23, 7 PM at Morton High School, 6915 Grand Avenue and let your voice be heard.
Contact the school superintendent Dr. Walter J. Watkins Phone: 219-933-2400 email:firstname.lastname@example.org