It’s about equitable access to educational opportunities for all students and families, which is a major component of our strategic plan. Families are expected to pay for preschool, supplies, testing, and more, and these costs are not always affordable for each family. When a student comes to Kindergarten unprepared, he or she has a difficult time catching up, and may never catch up. When students can’t afford the cost of the ACT college entrance exam, their access to post-secondary education is limited.
Due to our increasing assessed valuation (AV), the MCCSC is extremely fortunate to have one of the lowest overall tax rates of any school district in Indiana. The MCCSC is in the lowest 10% of all taxing rates among all school districts in the state; this includes our Referendum tax rate. The average tax rate for school districts in Indiana is $1.058. The MCCSC tax rate is $0.185.
While quality early childhood services exist, the county needs more to best serve families and the community’s economic development. Among parents of students in Indiana’s Pre-K pilot program:
50% were able to increase work hours
35% were able to find new employment
33% were able to begin their own schooling
Per Bloomington 2021 Census statistics: Individuals with their own children under 6 years old have a 74.4% labor participation rate. This is in contrast to an 83.6% labor participation rate for individuals with children ranging in age from 6 to 17 years old.
Historically, community members have done more than express appreciation for MCCSC. Voters have backed that support with financial investment, knowing that strong schools are a key element of any strong community that also promote economic growth and property values.
In 2010, after the State Legislature reduced public school funding, MCCSC residents approved an operating levy of 14 cents per $100 of assessed value. This vote allowed the district to restore teaching positions, fund coach stipends, strengthen programs and replenish an operating balance. By 2015, the actual rate dropped to 12.3 cents because of increases in assessed value.
In 2016, voters renewed the 2010 operating levy at a level of 11.5 cents per $100 of assessed value. By 2022, the actual rate dropped to 9.5 cents because of community increases in assessed value.
In 2022, voters renewed the 2016 levy and authorized an increase to a rate of 18.5 cents, a rate comparable to the 2010 rate when factoring inflation. In addition to renewing program commitments dating to 2010, this allowed MCCSC to ensure high quality staffing through competitive pay, including $4,500 salary increases for teachers and hourly rate increases of $2.25 for hourly staff.
MCCSC has long hoped that the State Legislature would finally act on its talk in recent years of providing statewide revenue for early childhood education. Now, with no indication the Legislature – even with its current influx of available funds – will address this need, MCCSC is ready to act because of the many and well-documented benefits of early childhood education.
Current Pre-K enrollment for 4-year olds in the community is about 400, including 115 in MCCSC and 280 by community providers. With an estimated 800+ 4-year-olds in the community, half are not currently enrolled in a Pre-K program.
The benefits to Pre-K education are immediately felt:
A child’s brain develops faster from birth to age 4 or 5 than any other time
Access to high quality education bolsters future learning, social skills and overall health.
Children in high quality Pre-K programs showed accelerated gains in ELA and math kindergarten readiness (15 months gain in only 9 months)
The benefits of a Pre-K program are long-lasting and economically beneficial:
Children who participate in high-quality preschool programs are 40% less likely to drop out of school.
Early learning programs narrow the equity gap among students from low-income families.
Free textbooks fill a need; Indiana is among only eight states in which parents must pay for textbooks. District-provided texts create equity among students regardless of family financial resources. District payment of AP courses and exams also reduces inequities. Students with fewer financial resources are less likely to access AP courses and exams or certificates.
As few as 8,000 voters are expected in November. Your vote matters.
MCCSC hired the Morris Leatherman Company to survey 400 registered voters residing within the school corporation boundaries. Interviews included demographic targets intended to provide a representative sample of voters in the district. To the extent that any demographic dimension was under- or over-sampled, sample weights were adjusted to compensate. For example, we ensured representative samples were interviewed within groups by age, gender, parent status, voting history and geographic area.
Owners of a median priced home would see an increase of $45 per year, or less than $4 per month. A hypothetical family of 4 will save $8500/year, while paying only $45/year. This investment in our children and our families will continue to make our community a fair and equitable place to live.
A one dollar investment in MCCSC returns $20 on home values. That’s just the tangible benefit. The intangible benefits are great as well, including more students graduating, fewer entering the judicial system, and more. Investment in quality education creates conditions that improve livability for all residents.
If a precinct is open for only a school question, the school corporation may have to pay for that. Political Action Committee (PAC) funds can help. We have reached out to the county clerk’s office for guidance.
No, we can’t just flip the switch. We expect to roll out the 4-year old program in the ‘24-’25 school year, and the 3-year old program in ‘25-’26. There are still other details that need to be worked out.
Get Your Questions Answered
If you have questions regarding our district's Family-Centered, Community-Focused Referendum, please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 812.330.7700.
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