Letter: School district took proper steps for ballot
Rick McKinney, Hamilton County Council Member, recently submitted a letter to the Westfield Current that included incorrect information regarding the May 2nd school’s construction referendum.
We wanted to make sure that Mr. McKinney and the community had the facts prior to the election.
The schools had a series of well-attended focus groups in November and December in which the “whys” were discussed and documented. The demographic study, bond information and facilities study are all online and available on the district website, as well as the feedback from the focus groups that strongly supported moving forward with a construction referendum.
A few other key points:
Westfield Washington Schools are the fastest growing school district in the state. We have gained more than 1,000 students in the last five years. Space is needed for an additional 1,700 students over the next five-10 years in grades 5 and up.
A public vote, or referendum, is the tool that the state has given to fast-growing areas, like ours, to help cover the cost of necessary construction projects.
The vote would enable a 20-year (not 30-year) bonding project to cover the cost of expansion at Westfield Intermediate, Middle and High School buildings, as well as necessary improvements at other buildings.
School districts seeking construction referendums (such as Westfield’s) do not need to ask the County Council for permission; school districts seeking operating referendums (such as Carmel and Sheridan) do. (Citation: Westfield-Washington is proceeding under IC 6-1.1-20-3.5 and 3.6 for a capital projects referendum. This process does not require a notice to the county fiscal body.)
We confirmed with the Hamilton County Clerk’s office to ensure we took all the proper steps to get the question on the May 2 ballot.
Our website, westfieldyes.com, has loads of information including the answers to frequently asked questions. We are working hard to make Westfield a better place, invest in quality and prepare our schools for our students today and the near future.
Ashley Knott, Danyele Easterhaus and Jeff Boller