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Prairie Heights School Corporation seeks funds through referendum

LAGRANGE, Ind.-- The Prairie Heights School Corporation said it will start to see significant cuts to programs and staff if the community voted no to this proposal. 

Jeff Reed, superintendent to the Prairie Heights School corporation, said, “We’re receiving 243 dollars less per student now compared to 2014. The state ties a dollar amount to every student we have now. So you take less money per student combined with fewer students. That’s kind of created the perfect storm for us here."

Property owners within the school's district are the ones being asked to foot the bill.

It would amount to about 0.2 percent per 100 dollars of assessed property value.

For the average property owner in this district, that's about an extra 9 dollars a month if your property is worth 150,000 dollars.

Some living in the community say the price is well worth it. 

“I went to school here, my sister went to school here. I have two kids here now. My mom is an educator here, my sister is an educator here. I'm happy to pay, I’d pay a 15% increase if it meant my kids could continue to go here. In the state of Indiana, I can send my kids to any school, I choose to send them here," said Brittany Johnson, parent of a Prairie Heights Student.

For a local milk production farm in the area, the district is asking for too much.

“We’re not anti-education or anti-teacher, we’re just pro-paying our bills. We’ve had to make some big decisions like going to three times a day milking, and making different management decisions to increase our production to try to make up for those revenue shortcomings. It’s very hard. I believe there are other options the school could explore before putting the burden on us,” said local Riley Lewis. 

Superintendent Reed says he knows how it will affect property owners but says they have no other option before continuous cuts start directly affecting academics. 

“It’s a no win situation, it really is. You make a decision to help the school and help benefit the students that we serve which our objective to do at the cost of a lot of people in the community. It’s a big deal. It’s a no win situation all the way around it really is,” said superintendent Reed. 

The decision on what's next for the school corporation will be made this Tuesday when residents cast their votes. 

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