- ZCS is proposing two referendums for the November 2019 Election
- Operating Referendum:
A new 8-year referendum to fund operations (ie teacher salaries). This takes the place of the current operating referendum.
- Construction Referendum:
Bond authority to build a new elementary school, expansion of the high school and modifications/updates to all other schools.
Why do we need both referenda?
Operating Referendum: Class sizes are becoming too large. The current operating referendum provides salaries for 1/3 of all ZCS teachers and the need for more teachers will increase as the student population grows. Without such funding, the result would likely mean mass layoffs, drastic changes to curriculum, less curriculum (i.e.: science, AP, music, PE……). And, overcrowded classes.
Construction Facilities Referendum: Overcrowded classes harm our schools and our community reputation and thereby home values. A recent independent study estimates that over 200 new students will enter ZCS doors each year for the next decade as our population continues to grow. Present facilities do not provide space for such growth and a new elementary school, expansion of the high school, and modifications/updates to the remaining schools and transportation are needed.
Why replace the current operations referendum (teacher’s salaries) with a new eight-year referendum? The present referendum expires in two years. ZCS leadership believed providing the community a comprehensive view of the challenges with a combined recommended solutions to address student growth is in Zionsville’s best interest. Doing so provides residents the entire picture a once. So, they will seek the facilities expansion at the same time as extending the operations referendum. Option B was to seek a construction referendum now and an operations referendum in two years and expend double the resources to do so.
What happens if the referendums fail? If future referendums (construction and operating) would not pass, ZCS would have overcrowded classes across the system, mass teacher layoffs (at least one-third), drastic reduction or elimination of programs, use of mobile units for classrooms, lowering of curriculum standards, and multiple student school redistricting over multiple years. Home values will also suffer.
- What all will the bond authority provide?
- A new elementary school, likely on CR 875
- Expansion of the high school
- Modification/updates to all other schools
- Required infrastructure
- Moderate expansion of bus facility
- What would have happened in 2015 — if the referendum failed?
- Class size increase all grades level, significantly
- 120 positions cut—teachers (43), counselors (4), support staff (33) immediately
- Major instructional programs eliminated such as specialty teachers for reading, science, music, art and PE in elementary schools. No hands on labs in high school, AP classes reduced. STEM reduced or eliminated.
- Services and support for students eliminated including counselors.
(source: ZCS Stakeholder report update May 2015)
- What actually happened in 2010 when a referendum failed?
- Baccalaureate program, elementary music, PE and health care professionals, elementary science teachers – cut
- 150 positions eliminated
- Classes with 40+ students
- Implementation of club and sports participation fees (remain today)
- Wage and hiring freeze
- Retention (and recruitment) of teachers harmed
- Class sizes exploded in 2011:
- Classes with 21 to 29 students: 249 classes
- Classes with 30+ students: 223 classes
- Classes with 35+ students: 45 classes
- Home values fell (neighboring community prices did not fall)