Taxpayers' Efforts Successfully Stop SDHS Improvements, For Now

By Mike Perleberg A $9.76 million facility upgrade and addition project at South Dearborn High School has been stopped by taxpayers. File photo. (Aurora, Ind.) - Improvements at South Dearborn High School will have to wait. A recent signature race, formally known as a petition and remonstrance process under state law, saw more signatures gathered against the $9.76 million project than were for it. The 30-day signature-gathering period ended on February 27. Since then, employees of the Dearborn County Clerk of Courts and County Auditor’s office have been busy working to determine whether the signers were either registered voters or property owners in the school district. County Clerk Rick Probst announced Monday that the school district’s wishes were defeated 1,923 signatures to 1,481. The margin was 442 signatures. “The Petition (In Favor Of) Counterpart signatures, 1,627, were reviewed by the Voter Registration Office and the Auditor’s Office resulting in 1,481 signatures identifies as valid signatures in favor of the proposal,” Probst’s letter to the school district stated. “The Remonstrance (Opposed To) Counterpart signatures, 2,008, were reviewed by the Voter Registration Office and the Auditor’s Office resulting in 1,923 signatures identified as valid signatures in opposition to the proposal.” The high school project’s inclusion of an artificial turf athletic field and a new activity building were the biggest points of contention from citizens and property owners opposed to a property tax increase. The improvements would have also allowed for a remodeling and expansion of the high school auditorium, updates to the natatorium (pool area), and other items such as water tower graphics, signage, flooring and lighting. State law says South Dearborn Community Schools must wait at least another year before considering any similar project at the high school. The process is explained by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance at http://www.in.gov/dlgf/files/130716_-_Flowchart-_Petition_and_Remonstrance.pdf. The property tax increase in the school district has effectively been lowered, though not completely cancelled. The successful remonstrance will not halt improvements at South Dearborn’s five other school buildings, which are getting upgrades of less than $2 million each. RELATED STORIES: South Dearborn Signature Race Ends At 4:00 P.M. Monday Citizens Make Case At Final South Dearborn School Board Meeting Before Signature Race Ends South Dearborn HS Petition & Remonstrance Race Begins Wednesday School Board Vote Puts South Dearborn HS Upgrades To Signature Race Clerk Verifies Enough Signatures To Challenge South Dearborn HS Project Petition Puts South Dearborn High School Improvements Into Question  

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