Will there be a referendum for Hamilton Southeastern schools this November?

The Hamilton Southeastern school board voted Wednesday to move forward with an operating referendum on the November ballot, although an official decision won't come until later.

District officials recommended continuing HSE’s operating referendum, last passed in 2016, without an increase. The current rate is $0.2275 per $100 of assessed property value.

Board President Dawn Lang and members Sarah Parks-Reese, Ben Orr, Suzanne Thomas, Sarah Donsbach and Dr. Juanita Albright voted yes.

The board's consensus on the referendum does not replace an eventual official vote in June. Rather Wednesday's meeting was to share board members' support of moving forward on the measure, Katy Dowling, chief financial officer, said.

Board member Tiffany Pascoe abstained. Pascoe expressed her disagreement with not being provided a fiscal plan for the referendum funds from the district.

The district does have a fiscal plan but the state's two-year budget cycle makes it complicated to plan until the legislature finalizes funding, Dowling said.

"It is irresponsible to discuss the rate and discuss reductions until we understand what the General Assembly is going to provide us with, that is common in every school corporation in the state," Dowling said.

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House Republicans unveiled their $43.3 billion two-year budget in February. Roughly half the budget is designated for K-12 education, up from the previous cycle but with more going to vouchers.

The most recently approved HSE referendum, which expires by the end of 2023, generates about $26 million a year for the district.

HSE has the second lowest tax rate behind Westfield Washington Schools among Carmel Clay Schools' operating and school safety referendums, Noblesville Community Schools and Zionsville Community Schools.

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Board members and public speakers voiced their support for letting Fishers and Noblesville voters decide on the referendum.

"I can't find a way to replace $26 million and then our good friends at the statehouse may be giving us another $8 million to deal with so I don't know how we operate without this," board member Orr said.

Orr said there's a lot of time to go through the budget process but it's important to move forward with allowing voters to make a decision.

Board member Thomas said she fully backs the referendum.

"We have a phenomenal school district and in order to keep it phenomenal we need to have those funds go through," Thomas said.

Rachel Fradette is a suburban education reporter at IndyStar. Contact her at rfradette@indystar.com or follow her on Twitter at @Rachel_Fradette.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Will there be a referendum for HSE schools this November?