Clerk Verifies Enough Signatures To Challenge South Dearborn HS Project

By Mike Perleberg File photo. (Aurora, Ind.) – The fate of a new artificial turf football field, activity center, and other improvements at South Dearborn High School hang in the balance after enough of the petition signatures against the proposed project are verified. Dearborn County Clerk of Courts Rick Probst announced Tuesday that 612 of the 637 of the signatures gathered by project opponents were verified as either registered voters or property owners in the school district. A minimum of 500 verified entries were needed to advance the effort to halt the $9.76 million high school improvement project. Some school district residents have been opposed to the high school upgrades and accompanying tax hike, with most of their concern centering around the necessity of an artificial turf football field and activity center at South Dearborn High School. Jeff Cotton and Josh Holland -  just elected to the school board in an narrow upset of Bill Lane - led the petition effort, turning in most of the signatures in late October. Due to the proximity to the November general election, state law allowed the clerk’s office and county auditor’s office to put off the 25-day petition verification process until a week after the election. The ball is now in the court of the South Dearborn Community Schools Board of School Trustees. They must decide whether to push forward with the current proposal, which would lead to a petition and remonstrance process. According to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, that process would pit project supporters and opponents in a race to see who can get the most signatures within a 30 period, which wouldn’t be allowed to start until 30 days after the school district publishes a notice. If the opponents were to win the remonstrance/petition showdown, the school district would have to wait at least one year until it could consider any similar project at the high school. A couple other options exist for the school board. Members could vote to alter the project, starting the entire process over. The board could even choose to end the facilities project entirely. South Dearborn school board members could discuss a course of action at their next meeting, scheduled for Monday, December 19. The $9.76 million high school project is a majority of the $13.5 million district-wide facility upgrades the school district is planning. If successful, the petition effort would only halt the high school portion, which in addition to the football field and activity center would include updates and expansion of the high school auditorium, updates to the swimming pool and natatorium, changes to the high school gym, and refurbished football locker rooms. Basic items such as a generator for the high school’s VOIP phone network, ceiling tiles, wall and water tower graphics, and electronic signage are also included. Spending on improvements at the district’s five other schools range from $1.29 million at Manchester Elementary to $220,000 at South Dearborn Middle School. Projects below $2 million are not subject to a petition/remonstrance. If the facilities projects proceed as currently presented, school district residents would see their property taxes increase. In the towns of Dillsboro, Moores Hill and in unincorporated areas, annual taxes would increase $28.20 on a home valued at $100,000. In the City of Aurora, the tax increase would be $23.85 per $100,000 in valuation due to Indiana’s property tax cap law. RELATED STORIES: Petition Puts South Dearborn High School Improvements Into Question South Dearborn Will Continue Facilities Discussion Monday Argument Over Football Field, New Building At South Dearborn Facilities Hearing South Dearborn School Board Recommends Up To $13.5M In Improvements South Dearborn School Upgrades Proposal To Get One More Look Aug. 10 Proposed South Dearborn School Upgrades Get Another Look July 20 South Dearborn School Upgrade Proposals To Be Discussed June 14 South Dearborn Planning For Potential School Upgrades Once Faced With Closure, Moores Hill School Finding Its Way Back  

More from Local News


Dearborn County Recorder Receives Statewide Award

The award recognizes contributions made to county government.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Launches in Ripley County

The program gifts free, high quality, age-appropriate books to children from birth to age five on a monthly basis, regardless of family income.

Gov. Holcomb Unveils New Addiction Treatment Locator

The online portal is a free, confidential, first-of-its-kind tool to connect Hoosiers in need with appropriate addiction treatment.

High School Football Scores & Stats - Friday, September 29

Stats will be updated as they are provided/released.

Local Sports Report - September 28, 2023

Report missing high school sports scores and stats to

EC's Hopper, Watkins Having Record Breaking Seasons

Both players have scored and assisted on 20+ goals.

On Air

Your Hometown Radio Station playing
Brothers Osborne - Nobody's Nobody

Eric Church Drink In My Hand 5:49
Lee Brice Love Like Crazy 5:45
Brantley Gilbert Hard Days 5:42
Restless Heart That Rock Won't Roll 5:39