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Victory For Hamilton Southeastern Schools

Last updated on Thursday, November 12, 2009

(FISHERS, IN) - A landslide victory for the Hamilton Southeastern Schools in a tax referendum could become a moot point, if the school district can notch a similar victory in court.

Voters in the school district approved a 1% property tax hike by a nearly five to one margin.

Part of HSE's case for the increase was a promise to repeal it if the district wins its lawsuit over the school funding formula.

HSE Superintendent Brian smith contends with some schools receiving double what it does per student, the formula penalizes the state's fastest-growing schools, and thus violates the constitutional requirement for a uniform system of public education.

No district is growing faster than HSE, which added 850 students this year and expects to do it again next year.

But the lawsuit will bring together plaintiffs from urban and rural areas.

To counter claims that the funding dispute pits urban schools against wealthier suburban districts.

Smith calls the 82% yes vote "a victory for children."

He says it reflects parental support for schools, and the way the system spelled out exactly what it would do with the money.

The money will pay for more teachers to push class sizes down despite the growth, and avert staffing cuts Smith says would have been necessary had the referendum not passed.

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