2020 NAFCS Safety Referendum Frequently Asked Questions
What is a School Safety Referendum?
During the 2019 Indiana Legislative Session, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 127, allowing schools the opportunity to seek a property tax referendum to fund school safety initiatives such as:
Update school safety plans
Conduct Threat Assessments
Professional Development for Staff
Employ School Resource Officers (SRO’s)
Establish a School Safety Office
Implement programs addressing mental illness, addiction, anger management, bullying and/or school violence prevention
Improve overall safety of our schools
This law is an essential tool that will help generate a funding stream to enhance school safety for the district.
Why are mental health services important?
By continuing to provide mental health support to our students we can be proactive in identifying and helping students in need.
People want to send their children to safe schools and this referendum will help ensure a higher level of school safety of our students.
Mental health services help to prevent violence in our schools which protects students and staff.
How will the referendum money be used?
The referendum will provide initiatives focused on improving safety within our learning environments.
Funds will be utilized to provide staffing for school resource officers (SROs), mental health professionals (counselors, therapists, social workers) and services for anger management, anti-bullying, addiction, school violence prevention and support for students in need. These personnel provide a safe learning environment for all.
Funds will also be allocated to enhance monitoring and communication systems to help avert potential crises as well as respond appropriately to potential threats. Examples include enhanced door locking mechanisms, night vision cameras, social media threat prevention, forensics, robust communication systems, bollards, perimeter fencing, radio enhancements, transportation telemetry systems, etc. In addition, we would also equip our buildings with technologies designed to improve student safety and improve urgent communications with parents.
Are other funding sources available?
Yes, the School Corporation has sought grants to improve school safety within the last several years from Homeland Security and Eli Lilly. However, these temporary bridges do not provide long-term support to the needed services.
In 2017, NAFC Schools received a Lilly Grant which allowed the School Corporation to contract with local agencies to provide mental health services for our students in need. This grant also provided additional social workers who work directly with the families of our students. These programs have been very effective.
The School Corporation believes the services from this grant have been invaluable for individual students and help maintain a healthy school culture. The Lilly grant will expire in 2021 and the School Corporation believes that the continuation of these mental health services ultimately benefit everyone in our community.
How would my property taxes be impacted?
If the community approves the proposed 8.5 cent ($0.085) increase, then, a homeowner of a $100,000 home would expect to see an increase of approximately $26 per year. If approved, the approved levy would last for 8 consecutive years.
What might the ballot question look like?
Language on the May 2020 ballot might read:
“For the eight (8) calendar years immediately following the holding of the referendum, should the school corporation impose a property tax rate that does not exceed eight and one half cents ($0.085) on each one hundred dollars ($100) of assessed valuation and that is in addition to all other property taxes imposed by the school corporation for the purpose of funding social, emotional, safety, and security needs for all students and staff including, but not limited to:
(a) additional school resource officers
(b) physical safety and security improvements
(c) student programs to address mental wellness, addiction, anger management, bullying, and school violence
(d) professional development/training which focuses on proactive safety strategies?
How many local students and staff would be supported by this referendum?
11,660 students and 1,350 faculty attend and work daily in the NAFC Schools.
How can I be involved in the referendum?
Our students benefit from volunteers who help get the word out to all potential voters within our community. Examples include face-to-face education, phone calls, social media posts, or simply displaying a yard sign to show that this referendum is important to the community.
Where can I go to get more Indiana school referendum information?
The Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) website has more information.
How do I become a registered voter in Indiana?
Just follow this Voter Registration Link to become a registered voter in Indiana!