- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Voters in a southern Indiana county overwhelmingly rejected a tax increase intended to fund a $109 million plan to upgrade or replace several schools.

More than 74 percent of Clark County voters opposed the measure, which was one of seven local school-funding referendums before Indiana voters on Tuesday.

Four of the seven measures passed, but Greater Clark County Schools’ proposed tax increase generated a strong voter backlash.

Donna Spence, of Greater Clark Taxpayers for Fiscal Responsibility, said the school district in the county along the Ohio River sought too large of a tax increase and opponents were certain the public would defeat the measure.

“If you are going with a tax increase, keep in small. It was a big check without a good game plan. That’s where they failed,” she told the News and Tribune.

Superintendent Andrew Melin said the school district is “very disappointed” by the defeat of the measure, which officials had anticipated would raise property taxes 19 cents per $100 of assessed valuation if it had passed.

That extra funding would have allowed the district to close an elementary school, build three new schools and make improvements at several other schools across the county just north of Louisville, Kentucky.

Indiana lawmakers in 2008 established referendums as the mechanism for school-funding requests in response to taxpayers’ outcry about the state’s property tax growth.

The four school funding referendums that passed were in northern Indiana’s East Noble School Corp., Whitley County Consolidated Schools and Freemont Community Schools, and in suburban Indianapolis’ Zionsville Community Schools.

Aside from Greater Clark County Schools, the two other funding measures turned aside by voters were proposed by northern Indiana’s North Judson-San Pierre School Corp. and Lake Station Community Schools in northwestern Indiana.

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Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind., https://www.newsandtribune.com

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