Salem Community Schools propose $4.3 million in improvements residents say would spike their property taxes
Improvements to schools in one southern Indiana district are needed but could come at a cost to residents who live there.
SALEM, Ind. (WDRB) -- The line to get into Monday night’s Salem Community School Board meeting wrapped around the administration building. In fact, so many people showed up that the meeting was adjourned after its original 6:30 p.m. start time so it could be moved to a larger room at a nearby middle school.
More than $4 million in proposed improvements, such as fixing a leaky 42-year-old pool at the middle school and adding a new security pilot program, could cause taxpayers an increase that many say would be too high.
“I would like to be able to stay on my five-family farm. So that's what I am concerned about," said Therisa Kreilein, who owns 145 acres and rents out 44 of those for tilling. "The taxes will actually increase and run me off my farm."
Parents had a chance to speak in front of the board Monday night during a meeting that lasted more than three hours.
Lacy Tucker said that while improvements are needed, it should not come at the expense of the taxpayers, especially after seeing tax increases after the addition of a new jail and airport.
“If there is another project or something that breaks or whatever, it's not going to be Salem community schools that's affected, because they are going to have to pull those monies from the other districts,” said Tucker, who also owns a farm and a small business. “If the farmers can't farm and make their money, what are they going to do?”
Over several months, the board’s initial request of $13 million in funds decreased to $4.3 million to cover what needs to be improved. Initial improvements suggested a new band suite, new turf on the football field and a new press box.
Some students want their voices heard as well.
“There is stuff here I know my tax money goes toward, so I feel like I have a right to have my two cents put in on what it goes toward,” said Alyssa Alexander, a senior at Salem High School who has a part-time job.
The proposal was discussed at length Monday night, but in the end, no action was taken. The next school board meeting will be May 14.
Board members and the school superintendent refused to comment for this story.
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