NEW ALBANY, In. (WDRB) -- School district leaders in New Albany are considering asking voters for a tax increase to help pay for school safety improvements. 

Last year, Indiana lawmakers approved a provision that would allow local school districts to seek a property tax hike in order to pay for school safety improvements.

Now, the New Albany-Floyd County School Corporation will consider adding such a question to the ballot for voters to decide on in May. 

School board members were presented with an outline of the plan on Monday. The tax would be 8.5 cents per $100 of assessed property value. For example, a $100,000 home would pay an additional $27.84 in taxes each year. A $250,000 house would pay an additional $110.70 a year. 

"If you're a homeowner in Floyd County, increasing the security of schools will increase property values," said Misty Ronau, who heads the political action group aimed at convincing residents to vote yes. 

In total, the district estimates the tax would generate $3.1 million a year. The tax could not continue after 8 years. Seventy percent of the money would go toward social support such as counseling, while 30% would go toward physical safety improvements. 

"That's what makes this referendum different," Ronau said. "The state General Assembly laid out very clearly only nine categories directly related to school safety."

These are the nine categories according to the district:

  • School resource officers
  • Threat assessments
  • Updating school safety plans
  • Develop or update emergency response systems
  • Equipment purchases for buildings or buses
  • Create a school safety office
  • Increase physical safety of school buildings
  • Establish programs for mental illness, anger management, bullying, etc. 
  • Staff training

"Those are services that are so desperately needed and they propose things like school based therapy that otherwise we wouldn't have access to," Ronau said.

Two town hall meetings will be held next week for the public to voice opinions on the possibility of the tax. The first is Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. at Floyd Central High School. The second is Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. at Prosser. 

The school board will make a final decision on Feb. 10. Voters would then decide if the tax goes into place at the ballot box in May. 

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