Controversy surrounds $95M school bond referendum

A proposed $95 million referendum that would impact 4,750 students in 9 schools in Southern Indiana is causing a controversy that is splitting communities and pitting neighbor against neighbor.

SELLERSBURG, Ind. (WHAS11) – Roughly 15 miles separate the three West Clark Community Schools of Borden, Silver Creek, and Henryville but there's an even bigger divide amongst taxpayers when considering a $95 million-dollar bond aimed at improving each school.

"This referendum is to set up our youth for the future, and their children, and their children's children,” Chris Roundtree said.

"What they want to do is virtually impossible,” Kevin Guernsey said.

At the center of the controversy is how the majority of the funding would be allocated to one school: Silver Creek.

"You've got kids that share lockers,” Roundtree said.  “You've got teachers on carts.  I think there are 14 teachers that don't have a classroom.  Do I think it's a perfect plan?  No, not by any stretch of the imagination but it's a step in the right direction."

With one school clearly benefiting more than others, taxpayers like Kevin Guernsey say the $95 million price tag is a tough sell.

"We're getting ready to put $150 a month debt service tax on top of the tax they're presently paying,” Guernsey said.  “That could make people lose their houses."

"Yes, property taxes will go up but it's an investment,” Roundtree said.  “That's the way I look at it is an investment in our kids and an investment in our school system."

"For school needs, you borrow money and pay interests,” Guernsey said.  “For wishes, out of district transfers, dreams, wants you to not borrow money and pay interest."

It's this back and forth debate that has some wondering what would happen if the referendum fails.

"There are some people out there that are going to want to see Silver Creek secede from the corporation and become a stand-alone school community,” Roundtree said.

"All three communities will buy into that believe me,” Guernsey said.  “If the governor could come down and say we're all going to be separate all three communities would buy into that."

WHAS 11’s Heather Fountaine is at a community input session concerning the West Clark bond referendum and will have more tonight on 11 at 11. 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment