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WESTFIELD, Ind. — School leaders in Westfield are urging residents to approve a referendum on the November ballot, otherwise they say they will have to make some drastic changes and not for the better.

The plan is essentially to renew a previous school funding referendum in the Hamilton County city. But, the difference for you is that under the latest version you would be paying less in taxes. The plan is to lower the tax rate on Westfield residents from 20 cents to 17 cents a month.

“We think it’s important to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and the assets’ evaluation, which is the value of all the property in Westfield is going up and because how taxes are done that allows us to drop the rate and we will still bring in the same amount of money,” said Paul Kaiser, superintendent of Westfield Washington Schools, on WISH-TV.

However, he said if the referendum fails then the district would have to make drastic cutbacks which would include teacher layoffs and program cuts. Fewer teachers would mean class sizes will increase from about 24 students on average to 30 students.

Not approving the plan would leave $8 million on the table.

“If this doesn’t pass this year, we have one more year on our current operating referendum and then we have to either let that fall off and we lose all of the money that we could get, or run another referendum in 366 days,” said school district spokesman Joshua Andrews said.

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