Franklin school officials need to find a way to lower the annual debt payments, and the school board’s decision could save taxpayers a few thousand dollars during the next 17 years or cost them a few million.
The school district started borrowing more than $100 million to build a new high school and remodel the old high school eight years ago. That was before Indiana added property tax caps to the state constitution.
Now the caps, which took full effect last year, limit the amount of money the district can bring in to pay the more $200 million it owes between now and 2029. Property tax money also pays for building maintenance and new buses. But because the debt payment must come first, little money is left to repair and upgrade buildings and replace buses.
In fact, by 2015, Franklin doesn’t expect to be able to pay its annual debt bill without dipping into savings, executive director of finance Jeff Mercer said.