Monroe County Republican Party Criticizes MCCSC’s Handling of Tax Funds

FILE PHOTO — March 6, 2023 – Bloomington, Indiana USA: Clouds gather behind the disused Herald-Times newspaper building sign on March 6, 2023, in Bloomington, Indiana. The building was sold by Gannett to the school district, and the journalists working there had to vacate by March. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

Staff report

Bloomington, Indiana – October 24, 2023  

The Monroe County Republican Party says it has scrutinized the financial records of the Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC), revealing what they describe as a substantial increase in property tax revenue, raising concerns about the allocation of these funds.

Notably the press release comes at a time when some community members are protesting against the MCCSC for a plan to change schedules, accusing the MCCSC of a lack of transparency, and some are threatening not to vote for the referendum currently on the ballot.

In 2022, MCCSC collected $46,844,018 through property taxes, and in 2023, the collection jumped to $60,859,196, marking a significant 29.9% increase, according to the Monroe County Republican Party. This financial surge exclusively pertains to local property tax funding, without accounting for state-level contributions. It is noteworthy that state education spending also saw increases in both 2021 and 2023.

Despite these budgetary enhancements, the Monroe County Republican Party questions whether the quality of education within the district has improved commensurately. They argue that teacher salaries have not increased by 29.9 percent. Additionally, the party inquires whether $14,015,178 worth of program improvements can be accounted for.

Over the past few years, MCCSC has made budgetary decisions that the Monroe County Republican Party finds questionable, including discontinuing Hoosier Hills programs and investing nearly $3,000,000 in the purchase of the old Herald Times building.

These moves have had consequences, with students reportedly facing scheduling challenges because of the bus schedules. Moreover, the party highlights that local students have endured nearly two full years of disrupted in-person education, further exacerbating an education gap despite increased funding.

The Monroe County Republican Party asserts that MCCSC is not directing these funds effectively toward students and teachers. They express dissatisfaction with MCCSC’s assertions that voting against the referendum would lead to reduced teacher salaries and program cuts, insisting that fiscal mismanagement is the root cause.

The 2023 budget request from MCCSC seeks a 9.3% increase, amounting to $67,145,375.

“Don’t fall for their rhetoric. Vote NO on MCCSC’s reckless spending, vote NO on the Referendum,” said the MCRP.

Here is the full text of their press release:

For Immediate Release:                                         

Bloomington – October 24, 2023: We here at the Monroe County Republican Party like to do our homework. In doing so, we were able to do the math regarding how much money has been collected by the Monroe County Community School Corporation via Monroe County property taxes. In 2022 MCCSC collected $46,844,018 while in 2023 they collected $60,859,196; a 29.9%increase. This is just local property tax funding, not including the funding that the district receives from the state. It is important to note that education spending went up in both 2021 and 2023 for the state as well. Have you seen a 29.9% increase in the quality of education within the district? Teacher salaries have not gone up nearly 29%, but that is what they always say they will do with more taxpayer money. Have you seen $14,015,178 worth of program improvements?

In the last few years, you have seen the corporation cut Hoosier Hills programs and spend almost $3,000,000 buying the old Herald Times building. At the same time, students are losing out on family time at the end of the day, because they can’t figure out bus schedules. Meanwhile, the children in the district missed nearly two (2) whole years of critical in-person education. An education gap that has only gotten wider since the funding increased 29.9%.

This begs the question, what are they spending this extra 29.9% on? This is a question for MCCSC to answer, all we know is that they aren’t spending this money where it counts, on the students and teachers. MCCSC recklessly puts out rhetoric saying that if you vote no on the referendum, teachers will lose money and programs will be cut. It is not the taxpayer’s fault that MCCSC cannot figure out how to properly spend money. Our advice is, follow the money and call their bluff.

This year, they are asking for a 9.3% increase from 2023, totaling $67,145,375. Is it worth it? You get to decide this on November 7th or at Early Voting. Don’t fall for their rhetoric. Vote NO on MCCSC’s reckless spending, vote NO on the Referendum.”

Source: Gateway Indiana

Source: Monroe County Republican Party

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