School City of Mishawaka deciding on next step after failed refe - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

School City of Mishawaka deciding on next step after failed referendum


A rejected referendum, that's the reality Mishawaka School Leaders woke up to Wednesday.

Voters said "no" to increased taxes in exchange for school improvements.

"Compare it to a wake I guess. It was a place where I did not want to stay very long," says School Board President Larry Stillson.

Stillson is still recovering today from a bit of an election hangover.

He says he couldn't talk to us Tuesday night after the polls closed, because he was shocked.

"Last night, School City and the City of Mishawaka got pushed off the roof. When you get pushed off the roof you're going to hit the ground and because of last night, nothing good is going to happen," says Stillson.

If voters would have passed the Mishawaka referendum, taxes for a homeowner with a $100,000 house, would have gone up by $100 per year. 

"The bottom line is that a majority of the voters didn't feel comfortable with taking two or three dollars a week to put towards improving the environment, both teaching and learning, and making things better for the kids and the schools and that's disappointing," says Stillson.

Hums Elementary is one of those schools relying on the referendum to buy a new furnace, but now with no money coming in, they'll have to deal with a faulty one.

Over at John Young Middle School, we're told the roof is leaking.

"What's going to happen to Hums? I don't know what's going to happen to Hums. Just like I don't know what's going to happen when I hit the ground. What about John Young? I don't know what's going to happen to John Young.  All I know is I  know is it's not going to be good," says Stillson.

Superintendent Dr. Terry Barker says the board has its hands tied right now. Even if they wanted to take another chance with the voters, they can't do that until 2015.

"There's about a year-and-a-half spread from the times you can go out on a referendum question," says Barker.

Dr. Barker says the board has to look at operations to figure out how they'll survive on the funds they have for the next few years.

Dr. Barker also says there have been rumors circulating that the board plans to close down schools. He assures residents there are NO plans to close any schools.

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