Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

May 12, 2014

MAUREEN HAYDEN: A tough sell for struggling schools

Ball State University economist Michael Hicks had some unwelcome news when he met with leaders of the scenic Ohio River town of Madison last summer, after they asked his advice on growing their community.

Despite a long list of assets, ranging from a strong manufacturing base to an abundance of recreational opportunities, he found the community had a weak link: Its underperforming schools, measured by metrics and perception.

Hicks, who crunches those kind of numbers in his role as head of BSU’s Center for Business and Economic Research, warned the lack of confidence had consequences.

Last Tuesday, that prediction came to pass: Madison voters overwhelming turned down a $40 million referendum request from its school district. The money, to be raised with an increase on property taxes, would have gone toward major construction projects, including a new high school gymnasium.

Out of the 10 school referenda on the ballot Tuesday across the state, Madison was the only one that lost. The vote wasn’t close: 73 percent of voters said no, including one local Democratic activist who told the local newspaper she asked everyone she knew to do the same.

Post-election, Hicks’ analysis found that most of the successful referenda were in districts with schools rated high for academic performance and/or moving up on their benchmarks. Only two wanted more money for construction projects; the rest were to boost school operating or transportation funds — both areas hit by past cuts from the state.

Hicks’ conclusion: Taxpayers are ready to invest more in schools, but they want to see value — especially when it comes to putting more money into bricks-and-mortar.

“It’s easy to go to taxpayers and say, ‘we’re doing a good job and we’ll get better if we have extra resources,’ “ said Hicks. “It’s hard to go to taxpayers and say, ‘we’re not doing well, but we need this money to get better.’ But it’s extraordinarily hard to make the argument, ‘we can’t get the classroom right but we’re going to ask for a lot more money to build a new gymnasium.’”

Text Only
Opinion
  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: 9/11 Commission chair scolds Congress Retired Congressman Lee Hamilton has warned of the perils of political ideology, calling the body where he spent 34 years “noxiously partisan.” Now, he worries the divide is downright dangerous. A co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Hamilton and fell

    July 28, 2014

  • GN140725 fair faces flowers 2 OUR VIEW: Another great fair is in the books Here at The Goshen News there are always mixed feelings when the Elkhart County 4-H Fair concludes for the year. On one hand, we’re as exhausted as anybody. This year’s nine-day event kicked off on July 18 and ran seemingly non-stop until the Mad Bom

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Full STEAM ahead for Fairfield Fairfield Community School students and parents are enjoying their summer holiday and the Elkhart County 4-H Fair this week, but looking ahead to the coming school year, there are big decisions to be made that will impact their lives.The school board

    July 26, 2014

  • MORTON MARCUS: Tax simplification in Indiana no simple matter The Governor and his select invitees to his closed tax conference last month praised simplifying Indiana’s tax code. It is an idea better loved by Americans than baseball, apple, pie or motherhood.There is no question that our national and state tax

    July 23, 2014

  • Rep. Kubacki still on a mission INDIANAPOLIS State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants

    July 21, 2014

  • Setting up the'LeBron Bayh' comeback saga INDIANAPOLIS — This could be the saga of “LeBron Bayh.”Like a thunderhead brewing in the distance, you could see this one coming. This was the progression: former state Democratic Dan Parker announces he will not become a candidate for mayor of India

    July 20, 2014

  • Maybe parks need to be watched 24/7 It was disturbing news last week when Goshen park officials found Rogers Park had suffered $5,000 in damage at the hand of vandals. Since vandalism is an ongoing problem in the city’s parks, we think it is time to elevate the conversation about findi

    July 20, 2014

  • Community gets behind try-athlon Saturday was another great day in Goshen. The 10th annual Kids’ Try-athlon came off with a bang. It is one of the signature events of the Goshen Parks and Recreation program, and appears to get bigger and better each year. This year, 360 kids from ag

    July 17, 2014

  • Let's go 'all-in' for 4-H fair's food drive Elkhart County is “all-in” for the upcoming food drive record attempt at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.Fair organizers want the food drive to set a new Guinness Book of World Records mark for the most pounds of food collected during a one-day food driv

    July 16, 2014

  • GN140710 kosciusko county fair 12 OUR VIEW: 4-H is the foundation of local fairs Has it been a year already? It doesn’t seem too long ago when the crunching of metal and the whiff of overheating radiators from the annual Demolition Derby drew the curtain on the 2013 Elkhart County 4-H fair, one of the best-attended editions in lo

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Poll

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results