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Old 08-12-2014, 09:39 PM
1 posts, read 3,561 times
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Are Munster schools still going to be viewed as one of the best in the area with financial issues like this? What do people think will happen to Munster in the next 5 to 10 years?

Munster schools face financial woes : Munster Community News
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:17 PM
Location: Hoosierville
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I would say that Munster needs to get a handle on it just as Valpo has had to. (And is still trying to.)

The school system is treasured by Munster - I really can see a referendum garnering big support if it comes to that.

And yes, I think Munster will still be considered a great school system in the coming years.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:00 AM
811 posts, read 2,323,058 times
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Originally Posted by boilermaker1984 View Post
Are Munster schools still going to be viewed as one of the best in the area with financial issues like this? What do people think will happen to Munster in the next 5 to 10 years?

Munster schools face financial woes : Munster Community News
I think that Munster schools will remain strong for the foreseeable future. It's not like they are the only district facing financial problems. Perhaps they are in one of the worst financial situations, but there are a lot of districts that are feeling the crunch big time and have been the last several years. Munster's school board has never really been viewed as the most prudent when it comes to allocating tax dollars, however, it may not be entirely their fault.

The state of Indiana took over the funding of public education back in 2008, so school districts now receive their money from the state directly. The amount the state provides them is based on a ridiculous and somewhat secretive funding formula that provides less money per-student to districts that have a low free/reduced lunch count. In other words, the wealthier districts get somewhere in the range of 50-60% of the per-student dollar amount compared to poorer districts. The point is, it's not all just mismanagement on the part of the school board. The state's miscalculation of projected sales tax receipts, that were the main generator of money to be allocated for funding public education, has resulted in the massive cut to funding in public education. I'm all for responsible allocation of taxpayer money, but in my opinion, the state has gone way too far with this.

The story is maybe not as financially dire as Munster, but it's similar in the Lake Central and Valparaiso districts. They're all in the same boat as far as having fewer low income kids and therefore are getting shafted by the state when it comes to funding. Which, if you think of it, makes the strong performance by these districts even more commendable to sustain the high level of education even when their funding has been cut by such a large amount.

Munster just passed a referendum that will raise taxes on Munster residents. I'm not sure when the district gets access to those funds, but that certainly will help pay down the debts.

As far as threats to the system, I see a couple. Nobody will dispute the excellence that Munster schools have shown over the past couple decades. However, that was a time when Munster schools (and others) could pick and chose the students they would allow into their district from out of town that would pay tuition. They can't do that anymore. The state has a new law that says school districts must either accept all out-of-district kids, or none of them. It's HB 1381 and is effective July 1st of this year, saying that school districts may not deny requests of transfer students for reasons other than full capacity. In other words, you either take all transfers and become an open-enrollment school district, or or you take none. Munster has chosen to take none. That will not only mean they'll be losing some higher performing students compared to years past, but will also not be obtaining their tuition payment and their per-student amount from the state. So that may impact their performance and indirectly, tighten their budget as well.

Anther thing would be that Munster is no longer the only top notch district in Lake County. Lake Central and Crown Point have greatly improved themselves as districts over the past decade or so, and now provide an alternative for families who are looking for lower taxes while still desiring good public schools.

Also, and again similar to Lake Central and Valpo districts, there has been a slight enrollment decline in the district. In my opinion and with examples of friends who would support the theory, many young families looking for a newly built home have been priced out of these districts. Heading to districts like Hanover Central which although may not be as highly regarded of a school system, it offers cheaper property values so that families can build that shiny new home for $200k that they couldn't in Munster or Tri-Town or Valpo. Don't get me wrong, there are still a lot of young families in these districts, but sure, it's possible that some are priced out and opt for a cheaper location and therefore another district. Fewer students means less money for the district's general fund, which means teachers or other expenses may need to be cut unless you go back to the taxpayer again asking for further support. Valpo is probably headed to a referendum within the next year or two.

It'll be interesting to look back in another 10 years to see if Munster has remained one of the premier districts in Northwest Indiana. I think it will be, despite these headwinds that it faces.
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Old 08-13-2014, 08:06 PM
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The financial situation for Munster is not good, but like svillechris stated, other districts are going through the same issues. In the future, I still believe Munster will be a top school district not only in NWI but the state as well. Given many people's assumptions 20 years ago, Munster schools (and the town) should have basically declined to Hammond status by now which it has not at all. It may not offer the cheap, slapped-together vinyl villages that Hanover and Crown Point offer (that attracts young families), but it offers a high quality school district with strong property values and in an ever redeveloping area. I think the prognosis is good; however, the school town must be careful and be more transparent with their actions.
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Old 08-17-2015, 11:51 AM
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We are in the midst of this crisis and so far so good, although there have been some that sting.
This district will be strong because it is a major issue in the town. That means the people care, and care deeply. There is a real strong desire to keep the schools strong, and the rankings in the state show that the school district is still extremely good, almost the best in the state.
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