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Teaching jobs on the line as homeowners vote on Washington Township referendum

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Dozens of teaching jobs are on the line as voters in the Washington Township School District go to the ballot box this November.

This year, homeowners will have to consider two referenda that will raise their property taxes.

First, the district is asking for $185 million for construction and repairs to deteriorating schools.

The second referendum is for $6.5 million for operational costs that include keeping current teachers and staff members and adding more support staff.

“A house at $173,000 market value, you’re looking at a tax increase of about $300 a year," explained School Board President Bill Turner.

If that referendum does not pass, the school board will have to cut $4 million from the budget and fire up to 105 people, including 30-45 teachers.

"Teachers are very worried about their jobs," said Sabra Gage, a teacher at Westlane Middle School. "We’re already looking at huge class sizes. They’re gonna get bigger. So you’re going to have smaller staff to cover more kids because we keep getting more kids each year. And that trend is going to continue to grow in the next 10 years."

Gage spoke to us during her lunch break. She said she understands there are critics of the tax hike, but the overall impact for students is what matters the most.

"We have one of the lowest tax rates in the state, and our area definitely. And so by increasing it just a little bit, they’re going to be able to help the future."

You can find out exactly how much more you will have to pay per year by using this calculator provided by MSD Washington Township.