Scott Tibbs
Printed in the Indiana Daily Student, 07-26-1999

Back to opinion page.

School system should prove need for money

To the editor:

This fall, the Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC) will be putting a referendum before the voters to ask us to raise our taxes. This permanent excess levy of $0.89 per $100 of assessed evaluation will result in a property tax increase of over $250 per year for a home assessed at $30,000. First, one questions whether this tax increase is even needed, considering MCCSC officials describe this $6.8 million windfall as a "wish list," not an emergency-funding request. The amount of money spent by MCCSC has doubled over the last 10 years with no increase in enrollment and an inflation rate of less than 5 percent.

It is true that Monroe County schools are above average in Indiana, but it is important to note that Indiana schools are near the bottom compared to the rest of the country, and American schools are far below other industrialized nations. In addition, MCCSC fails miserably to meet the expected levels of educational attainment set for it by the state of Indiana given Monroe County's demographic and economic factors. Perhaps MCCSC should show more accountability with what they have before they ask for another $6.8 million.

But the most important reason not to pass this referendum in November is the state of the Indiana tax system. The State Supreme Court has declared the current method of assessment for tax purposes unconstitutional, and we could very well be moving to a fair market value system.

If a fair market value system is implemented, we could have a major tax shift; one which could cause people living in older homes to see their property taxes double. We should not be passing any tax increase, especially one as large as being asked by the school board, until we know what the impact of the reassessment will be.

Indiana University students who rent apartments or houses in Bloomington should be concerned about this as well. If your landlord's property taxes go up, he will not simply absorb the extra cost, but will pass it on to you in the form of higher rent.