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Carmel School Board Adopts Budget With 0% Tax Levy Increase

Following months of meetings lasting several hours and going past midnight – and sometimes even past 1 and 2 a.m. – the Carmel School Board on April 25 adopted a budget with no tax levy increase for the 2024-25 school year.

The budget vote passed 4-3, with Trustees James Wise, John Curzio II, Melissa Orser and Jason Paraskeva voting “yes.” President Dawn Dall, Vice President Valerie Crocco and Trustee Jordi Douglas voted “no.”

Over the past few months, many parents, taxpayers, staff and administrators have voiced their concerns regarding overspending, programming, staffing, and myriad other factors affecting student learning, and taxes.

The public will get another chance to speak on the budget during a May 7 hearing at George Fischer Middle School, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The annual budget vote and board member election is May 21 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the district office, Carmel High School and Kent Elementary School (consult the district for your voting location).

Three candidates are running for two seats on the school board: incumbents Orser and Curzio, and candidate Roshan Bhojwani.

Safety & Security Capital Project

In addition to voting on the budget for the next school year, Carmel Central School District residents will be asked to vote May 21 on a proposition to fund $11.8 million in safety and security projects throughout the district.

It is anticipated that 60 percent of the project will be funded through state aid, with the remaining 40 percent replacing retiring debt, meaning it will not increase the tax levy.

In light of school safety concerns throughout the country in the past few years, a district safety team made up of parents, community members, school administrators and law enforcement has been assessing security in Carmel schools. Additionally, the district recently hired safety and security consultants to conduct a safety audit, and a list of recommendations was developed.

Much of the recommended work has been completed, but larger projects cannot be covered by the annual operating budget, according to school administration. Therefore, the district is proposing a capital project to include the following:

Swipe access control on all internal doors throughout the district with key cards that (unlike keys) cannot be duplicated and are easier to use in an emergency; installation of intruder-resistant security film on all ground-level windows and doors; integrated building-wide lockdown systems; a visitor management system for identification checks against databases; integration of phone systems with a new voice-over internet protocol technology; upgrades to security cameras and installation of new ones to address blind spots; and replacement of outdated safety equipment including windows, emergency lights and occupancy sensors.

If the project is approved May 21, work would likely be completed in 2026.


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