The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Business

January 22, 2014

New law threatens school bus service

State law would force schools to address debt

INDIANAPOLIS — School officials and state legislators from around the state are searching for ways to keep the school buses running — and children safe on the streets — pending the loss of millions of dollars for school transportation.

More than 50 school districts in Indiana stand to lose at least 20 percent of their revenues for transportation, new buses and other big-ticket projects under a new law that requires them to first pay off their debts.

In Madison County, the biggest losers will be:

◆ Anderson Community Schools, which stands to lose $3.1 million (58 percent) of its transportation levy.

◆ South Madison Community Schools, which will lose $913,000 (54 percent).

◆ Frankton-Lapel Community Schools, which will lose $724,000 (53 percent).

◆ Elwood Community Schools, which will lose $444,000 (88 percent).

The law, slated to go into effect later this year, comes as many cash-strapped districts are still struggling to adjust to property tax caps passed by lawmakers in 2008.

The new law would severely affect the schools in counties that saw dramatic drops in the value of their commercial and industrial bases last year — a drop that has already cut deeply into the taxes they collect to keep buses running and repair leaky roofs.

School districts across Indiana were affected when tax caps limited revenues to pay for a range of services and projects. Under current law, school corporations can spread those losses over several funds, including debt service, school pension debt, capital projects, transportation and bus replacement.

But the new “protected levy” law, passed in 2012 and delayed until July of this year, removed that flexibility. It requires districts to apply their property tax revenues to debt payments before other expenses.

Reasons vary as to why some schools are affected more than others.

Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, the powerful Senate Appropriations chairman who backed the protected levy law as a way to protect bondholders, said some districts got themselves into this fix by overbuilding and taking on too much debt before the tax caps cut into their revenues. Other districts, he said, suffer from poor financial management.

Text Only
Local Business
  • NWS - HB0820 - Kennedy Google- JC 2 Google X captures heart, imagination of AU professor After spending the summer working at Google's secret research laboratory in Mountain View, California, Scott Kennedy has decided to stay.

    August 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Residential electric rates increasing by 9 percent The electric rates for residential customers of Anderson Municipal Light & Power will increase by 8.96 percent for the final three months of the year.

    August 19, 2014

  • Indiana experiences growth in manufacturing sector Known for its strength in traditional and progressive manufacturing, Indiana gained more than 5,500 jobs in the manufacturing sector last month and has maintaining a 5.9 percent unemployment rate from June.

    August 19, 2014

  • NWS - HB0819 - Mounds Reservoir - JC 1 People get a view of proposed reservoir

    Local residents are being given the opportunity to discuss the benefits and challenges that face the development of the proposed Mounds Lake reservoir.

    August 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • FEA - HB0819 - Mommy Monday - JC 3 Mommy and me time

    Babette Bargo of Anderson said she brought her daughter to Community Hospital’s first Mommy Monday to meet other mothers and children after her sister-in-law told her about the event.

    August 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Reservoir would reduce tax revenues If the proposed Mounds Lake reservoir becomes a reality by 2021, local taxing units could lose an estimated $1.9 million in revenues.

    August 18, 2014

  • Ambulance provider to leave communities

    Area hospitals say they are not sure what to make of Rural/Metro Corp.’s announcement to end ambulance services in some Indiana communities.

    August 18, 2014

  • Grant intended to lift college completion for 21st Century Scholars Fall classes at Ivy Tech Community College aren't set to begin for another week, but "college success coaches" from a company called InsideTrack are already contacting 21st Century Scholars to help them transition from high school to college.

    August 18, 2014

  • Jesse Wilkerson: Change is not always good, but sometimes necessary

    Remember when you graduated from high school? You and others started preparing yourself to take on more responsibility. A change occurred. Ready or not you were faced with more decisions that would have greater impact on your life.

    August 18, 2014

  • NWS - HB0817 - beef production - 041 Sticker shock for meat The price of beef is up, costing the consumer about $1.50 to $2.50 a pound, as the nation experiences record high cattle prices as fewer cattle are headed to the market.

    August 17, 2014 2 Photos

Stocks
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide