School City of Mishawaka discussing another referendum for 2015 - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

School City of Mishawaka discussing another referendum for 2015

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The conversation continues on how to cut costs in the School City of Mishawaka district.

The district is $6 million in debt, and a referendum to raise some cash failed in the November election.

A number of parents have voiced concerns over some proposals to cut costs, like turning Battell Elementary School into a kindergarten center, which could save the district half a million dollars.

The school board discussed cost-saving measures at its meeting Tuesday evening. Superintendent Terry Barker is asking the board to defer the big ticket items for a year, like closing a school or creating a kindergarten center, and instead put their focus getting a referendum to pass in May 2015. Barker says he knows the district will have to change the way they campaign this time around and will work diligently to make it a success.

"We hope we have your attention. We know it has been stressful. We hope we keep your attention, and most importantly, we hope we have retention because we're in for a long process here," says Barker.

The last referendum that failed was for about $28 million. The district is looking at three possibilities, costing about $10 million, $14 million, and $19 million.

One parent who spoke at Tuesday's meeting said he voted no for the referendum, but told the board how he may be convinced to change his mind. 

"When that referendum comes up, I think one of the things that would win me over is if there is very specific language in that referendum that both limits when the funds start, when the funds stop, and what the funds will be used for specifically. Because I can get behind that if I know," says parent, Timothy Zerbel.

An attempt at another referendum doesn't mean there won't be any cuts. The district is looking at saving about $8.2 million by doing things like suspending elementary school orchestra and certain high school foreign language classes.

The school board will meet again, March 11th.

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