Neighbors rallying against proposed tax increase to fund New Albany Floyd County school improvements
"My dad and one other carpenter built this whole home," she said. "We paid for it as we went because we had another house to live in, so we didn't go into a whole lot of debt."
It's why the 84-year-old Floyds Knobs resident said she can't support New Albany Floyd County School Corporation's $80 million tax plan.
"We shouldn't tear down two good schools," said Gettelfinger.
The money would build a new Slate Run Elementary School and a new Green Valley Elementary School, as well as expand Floyds Knobs Elementary School and Greenville Elementary School, and renovate Prosser Vocational School.
The school system is spotlighting leaky roofs, moldy ceilings and closets that have been turned into classrooms as reasons to support the campaign.
"We've looked at it, and it just makes more sense to build new," said Fred McWhorter, the New Albany - Floyd County School Corporation chief business officer.
The neighbors who form Greenville Concerned Citizens Inc. disagree.
"I have some leaks in my basement that I'm working on," said P.J. Moore. "I'm not tearing down the whole house."
It comes down to dollars and cents. The average Floyd County homeowner currently pays about $300 in school property taxes. Old school debt is being paid off, so voting "yes" on the referendum still lowers the average school tax bill to about $288 a year -- but critics want neighbors to know this number: $180. That's what your taxes could be with a "no" vote. The figures come from Floyd County Auditor Scott L. Clark.
"We want to make our facilities good," said McWhorter.
The district's enrollment is in steady decline and school leaders have closed four campuses in the last five years.Some parents and area business leaders have formed a PAC: Families for Floyd County, to champion the school district's cause. "Every New Albany school, every Floyd County kid, deserves the best facilities possible, and we need to make that happen," said Pete Palmer, a member of the group.
"We want the money to go to the kids and the teachers, not to a few new buildings," said Moore.
Competing campaign signs line yards throughout the community. Some fear the issue will slip by as fewer people go to the polls in a primary election.
Dorothy Gettelfinger says it won't get by her.
"Where you can save a dollar, save it," she said.
The New Albany Floyd County school tax referendum is on the Indiana primary ballot May 5.
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