Referendum passes

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The doors at Rising Sun Ohio County Community schools will remain open thanks to an overwhelming 72-percent of the ballots cast in favor of a special school referendum on Tuesday, May 5th.

Failure would have meant future talks of consolidation with South Dearborn.

“I am thrilled,” said a relieved superintendent Branden Roeder. “It’s been grueling but work starts now. I will have meeting in the morning with the entire staff. We appreciate all the support and now will start to prove to taxpayers they have made a good investment.”

The referendum (.25 per $100 AV) will bring in approximately $650,000 over the next seven years to the school’s general fund which will help avoid an estimated $500,000 default.

“It means we won’t have to cut programs,” said Roeder. He addressed concerns that the money would just go to teachers who haven’t had a raise in nine years. “That’s not true. However, there will be a time that the issue will be addressed to keep teachers,” added Roeder.

Roeder knows he doesn’t have all the answers and is empowering teachers, parents and administrators in making improvements. “It’s a whole group effort.”

Roeder held six public meetings since the first of the year which had good attendance. Many who could not make one of the meetings often called Roeder.

He formed parent, teacher and administration teams in January. Roeder was being kept informed by text while sitting in parent group meeting. The group came up with the idea of preschool and future latchkey program.

They are involved in communications and meet the first Tuesday of the month.

“We need to keep the train moving,” added Roeder.

Again, he emphasized the team effort needed to make changes to make the school better in the future.

Half the turnout of casino vote

A total of 1,405 voters turned out (including 596 absentee) with 1,013 voting in favor of the referendum and 392 in opposition.

The nearly 3:1 vote in favor was only one-third of the registered voters in Ohio County. There are approximately 4,395 registered voters, of which 1,405 (or 32-percent) voted.

The special ballot attracted half as many voters as the last county referendum for a riverboat casino in November 1993. That year, 68-percent turned out in a 1,304-1,110 tally (a 54-46 percent margin).

- Tim Hillman