Citizens weigh in on referendum
Both of our daughters went to Smith-Green Community Schools from K-12 and they have long-since graduated. My husband and I are more or less retired now. We don’t have children or grandchildren in the school system, nor are we likely to. Nevertheless, we both very much support Smith-Green Community Schools and we will both vote “Yes” on May 8 for the referendum to fund the schools.
I believe this community will fail if it does not have its school system at its heart, and while they don’t put it quite that baldly, I believe that that is what the future holds if the school system isn’t funded. We all cheer when our state taxes are cut, but when the state then cuts its funding to our institutions, we cringe at making up the shortfall.
Smith-Green Community Schools have made deep budget cuts in order to manage under the state’s funding formula for schools, which ties funding to enrollment. Even though our schools have attracted students from outside the district, it has not been enough to make up for declining enrollment due to the demographics of the county. The school is operating in the red and changes will have to happen by next summer, either through a tax increase sufficient to support it, or by drastic and painful cuts to staff, programs and athletics, with possibly even worse scenarios to follow.
The primary election is May 8. Before that, the deadline to register to vote is April 9. You can confirm that you are registered at indianavoters.in.gov, and you can register there, as well. If you don’t want to choose a party ballot in the primary, you can ask for a ballot for just the referendum.
We all choose to live in this rural community, and I expect that we are all proud of the accomplishments of our community’s students and the school. Smith-Green Community Schools can boast excellent academics, as well as athletic, fine arts and FFA programs to be proud of. Churubusco High School has a graduation rate of 96 percent, and over 30 percent of its students graduate with honors diplomas. It offers the same number of dual-credit courses as Southwest Allen County, and 30 percent of CHS graduates leave with a number of college credits to their name already. This heart of our community is a treasure to be proud of. And we could lose this treasure — it is in jeopardy. Smith Township, Green Township, we’re all needed to protect what we have. It could all go away. It is time to step up on May 8 to Save Busco Schools.
— Jeanne Raines
My family moved from Fort Wayne to the Churubusco area in 1985 to get our two young daughters into a small school and away from Fort Wayne busing. It also gave us the opportunity to live on Blue Lake for 20 years. We now have two of our five grandkids attending Smith-Green schools. As much as we have come to love the Churubusco community and Smith-Green schools, we are against the upcoming tax referendum. We will not pay an additional $500-$1,000 per year. It is not our fault or any other citizen of Smith and Green townships that the school board made mistakes in their budget with blind numbers and hopes that weren’t there.
There is an organized group of non-Churubusco residents trying to force this on us, even though the leaders don’t live here. There isn’t time for the rest of us to organize, but we need to get out and vote “no.” They even made the statement that people who are against something don’t bother to vote, which is why they are organizing to get their members to vote “yes.” Many of their members have kids that attend Smith-Green, but do not live in the Smith-Green township, so they won’t have to pay the proposed tax.
Our youngest grandkid will graduate in five years. Smith-Green will still be there and they will be able to make the decision to stay or move as they see fit.
We know we are going to catch some flack for this letter, but so be it.
Just remember this, this tax increase is for a long time, unless they decide this is not enough, and then they may go for an increase. We vote “no.”
— Dan and Erna Maurer