New Group Forms to Oppose SJSD Tax Increase

Supporters of a Better SJSD plan to educate voters in hopes of defeating the largest tax increase in city history.

Posted: Oct 11, 2017 3:10 PM
Updated: Oct 19, 2017 10:42 AM


A new group is forming to oppose a property tax on November's ballot that would benefit the St. Joseph School District.

The $11.5 million dollar per year, 38.9 percent property tax increase would be the largest in city history and has no sunset clause.

The group, Supporters of a Better SJSD, plans to educate voters in hopes of defeating the tax increase and instead force the district to offer what they consider a real solution to their financial problems.

The group includes former educators and school board members who agree they cannot support the ballot measure because they believe it would take money away without taking steps to address excess spending.

“The history of the School District’s financial mismanagement became public and led to the district losing the $6.3 million tax levy in 2015," former board member Chris Danford said. "The district needs to propose a responsible funding plan that includes a sunset. Forcing through this massive tax increase, and telling us it has to last forever, shows that they are very out of touch with the residents and voters in the St. Joseph School District.”

Eric Bruder, another former school board member, also raised concern that the district's annual budget ballooned by around $13 million during a time when administrators were spending down their cash reserves.

Supporters of a Better SJSD said they hope their efforts will lead the St. Joseph School District to put together a better plan that both saves money and improves the St. Joseph school system.

St. Joseph voters will decide on the tax increase on Nov. 7.

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